'The children come first... but it's so expensive': €6,500 bill for daughters' braces
Mother-of-four Teresa Ross has to pay €6,500 for two of her children's dental treatments and it will take up to two years to pay off the costs.
Her daughters Holly (18) and Lucy (13) need braces and she says it is important that her children are fully confident when they smile.
Teresa, from Tallaght, Dublin, who also has a son, Sam (9), said she prioritises her children's health needs over her own.
The sales worker said herself and the children's father have both made sacrifices for the cost and are sharing the financial burden.
"If I cracked a tooth tomorrow, I wouldn't go and see about it because it's just too expensive," Teresa said.
"And the children come first. I'm working full-time and there's bills to pay and a mortgage, so my children's dental care is a priority above my own.
"Lucy needed her teeth done, she didn't qualify for any reduction and I wanted her to be confident in her smile, so I had to pay €3,000, €100 for a mould, a €500 deposit, then I pay €150 every five weeks. She needs teeth taken out, two or three, so that's around another €100. Holly's getting measured for a brace and that will cost around €3,500. Her's is more technical work, so that's €100 today and a €500 deposit.
"It'll work out €300 a month for Holly and Lucy together and will be paid off in about two years."
Teresa said she feels the Department of Health should roll out a programme to provide free dental care for all young people.
"Dental care is only free for children in primary school," she said. "There should be more help for families because so many just can't afford to go to the dentist and in the end that's bad for society that people are delaying healthcare or neglecting it."