Neglect of dental and oral health services

Government must take lead

Sir, – I find myself in complete agreement with Dr Pádraig Ó Reachtagáin (Letters, September 18th) when he writes about “complete chaos” in the provision of oral health services in this country. I too watched with upset the recent RTÉ Prime Time Investigates programme of September 7th, exposing apparent risks to patients. It highlighted the inability of the Dental Council to deal effectively with “practitioners” due to the inadequacy of the 1985 Dentists Act, the legislation governing the practice of dentistry in Ireland.

As a member of two previous Dental Councils from 2005 to 2015, I was party to numerous submissions and approaches to the Department of Health highlighting the inadequacy of that legislation and making proposals to replace it. All through that time the department made promises of new legislation but produced none. Now we have predictable problems regarding patient safety being highlighted by a TV investigation. In addition, we have third-rate oral health services which don’t deliver in a timely and effective manner to all the citizens of this country. The only criteria for access to oral health services appear to be one’s ability to pay and one’s geographic location.

In matters pertaining to oral health I believe that, in the Department of Health, we have an inept Minister, disinterested decision-makers and weak oral health leadership. The result is the chaos to which Dr Ó Reachtagáin refers. The Irish people deserve a whole lot better! – Yours, etc,



Dental surgeon, retired,


Dublin 16.