More than 18,000 children on orthodontic waiting lists
More than 18,000 children are on orthodontic waiting lists throughout the country, with some children facing delays of three years before they start treatment.
The figures were obtained by Independent TD Denis Naughten, who said: "Clearly the lack of investment in this area has had a direct impact and is what can only be described as scandalous.
"At present children in the west, which has 50pc more on the waiting list than the national average, are having to wait over five years for the completion of treatment and this could be after waiting until they reach secondary school to get on the waiting list in the first place.
"Due to this, many children have to face an intolerable level of bullying from their peers and this can lead to other social problems. Many parents are at their wits' end and taking out loans."