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Make an issue of dental health

I know there are a lot of special interest groups, each with their own agenda, trying to make their concerns an election issue. I would like to highlight a neglected branch of medicine.

Dental health has been allowed to deteriorate over the last few years due to the stopping of all treatment (except the annual oral examination) under the PRSI Dental Scheme and the restriction of treatment under the Medical Card Dental Scheme to emergency care only.

The patient is restricted to a maximum of two fillings per year but can have the painful tooth extracted, should they exceed the limit. However, once the tooth or teeth are extracted, the patient cannot get a denture under the scheme. Just imagine the Irish smile by the time we get out of this recession.

Add to that the closure of clinics, the non-screening of children and long delays for patients due to the non-filling of critical vacancies in the Public Dental Service and the failure to fill the vacant post of chief dental officer.

I deal with the shortcomings of the Government's policy every day. I'd urge everybody who has been affected by these restrictions to make dental health an election issue when candidates call to the door.

Brendan Fanning
(B.Dent.Sci.,MSc.) Co Wicklow.

Irish Independent