Children waiting up to four years for dental treatment
Specialist dentists warn against ‘quick fix’ dental solutions
Othodontists are concerned over waiting lists for children whose cases are considered “cosmetic”.
Parts of Ireland have waiting lists of up to four years for children who need orthodontic treatment, it has been claimed.
The Orthodontic Society of Ireland say there are not enough orthodontists to cope with demand across the country and waiting lists are getting longer as a result. They estimate that the average waiting list time for children is in the region of three years.
In the HSE North East region some 4,000 children are waiting as long as three to four years to get treatment.
Orthodontic Society of Ireland president Dr Katherine Condren said those who are emergency cases are prioritised but those who are not have to wait years in many cases.
Catherine Kearney from Terenure said her 12-year-old daughter’s case was not regarded as priority and she was told to return when she was 17 and then there was no guarantee she would get treatment.
“My daughter’s case was regarded as cosmetic, but it was more than cosmetic. That is the way they are characterised,” Mrs Kearney recalled.
She said treating her daughter privately cost €4,250 over a three year period.
“Do I feel that we shouldn’t have to go down the private route? Yes I do. Am I delighted that we did? Yes I am.”
As part of specialist orthodontist awareness week, the society has highlighted the pitfalls for some of those people and adults who go down the private route.
They have warned against the “quick fix solution” offered by so-called six month smile clinics at home and abroad.
The OSI say that many of the treatments offered at such clinics are offered by dentists inexperienced in providing orthodontic treatment but who are claiming to give a beautiful smile in six months or less. This is much faster than the comprehensive individual treatment usually required to treat crowded and crooked teeth to get teeth fully corrected, they say.
“There is a lot more to orthodontists than getting your front teeth straightened. Most patients require longer treatments and you will need a better outcome,” she said.
“We are concerned that some surgeries are offering technology that can straighten your teeth very quickly. We’re trying to alert them to the fact that only a small number will be suitable for a short treatment.”