News – AU – Dentists call for a “new approach” to the care of health card holders


The Irish Dental Association has warned that the current dental care system for health card holders is not meeting the dental needs of lower income groups and is “no longer viable”

A government program that provides limited access to dental care for adult medical card holders has “failed” and needs to be replaced by a “fundamentally new approach,” according to the association, which has more than 2000 dentists represents

The Irish Dental Association (IDA) has warned that the current Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) for health card holders does not meet the dental needs of lower-income groups and is “no longer viable”

IDA will speak to the Oireachtas Joint Health Committee on Wednesday afternoon about the program which has caused significant “anger and disenchantment” among dentists and “lifelong embarrassment, decreased nutrition and loss of wellbeing” for patients who do not have access to the dental care they need

A decrease in funding for the program by 36% since 2017 to 40 million EUR over the past year and a declining number of participating dentists have resulted in patients facing delays in treatment or having to travel or rely on public services when there are no participating dentists in their area, the IDA said >

“The medical card scheme is on the verge of collapse, affecting 15 million eligible patients whose access to dental care has decreased significantly over the past decade,” said Fintan Hourihan, CEO of IDA

The pandemic has shown the utter inadequacies of this system An unprecedented number of dentists have withdrawn because they cannot afford to attend

“In 2020 nearly a quarter of participating dentists nationwide left this program, highlighting its shortcomings. It is clear that the government can no longer stand over a system that is in any way good for either patients or dentists” he added

The dentist Dr Lisa Creaven warned that pandemic stress caused cracked and chipped teeth to increase significantly and urged patients to use stress relief practices to protect their teeth

IDA said a new system is needed and urges the government to consider a “co-payment system” similar to that of the PRSI Dental Treatment Benefit Scheme, a voucher-based system , which is funded by the EU state for holders of a health card or extension of the tax relief system for Med 2 to routine dental treatment

In the meantime, dentist Dr Lisa Creaven noted that cracked and chipped teeth increase significantly due to pandemic stress, and urged patients to use stress relief practices to protect their teeth

The increase in stress-related damage has also been seen in other countries, including the US, where a survey found that 60% of dentists reported an increase in cracked and chipped teeth

“In the last six months in particular, we’ve seen a huge increase in patients with cracked teeth. This is usually stress-related, and a common side effect is people tend to clench or grind their teeth harder, which is the case Stresses teeth and can cause them to flake or crack, ”said Dr Creaven

“To avoid cracked teeth caused by stress, I recommend focusing daily on reducing stress through exercise, meditation, and the awareness that you don’t clench your teeth during the day. Most people tend to clench their teeth at night In that case, you may need a night watchman that your dentist can put in place, ”she added,

Dentist, dentistry, dental surgery, oral hygiene, health card

News – AU – Dentists are calling for a “new approach” to the care of cardholders