Dental treatment for children as young as five has been left in limbo after a clinic at St James's Hospital shut.
The Irish Dental Association (IDA) described the HSE's decision to close the dental clinic in the grounds of the hospital as "a disgrace", saying it was shut suddenly without alternative arrangements being put in place.
The clinic had provided dental care to around 3,000 children a year - usually five to seven year olds - requiring multiple dental extractions and for whom timely care is essential, the IDA said.
It was opened on a temporary basis in 2003, and the IDA said that the HSE has known for years that a permanent facility was required "yet has chosen to close the clinic without putting an alternative in place."
"We are calling on the HSE to take action immediately. They must provide suitable alternative facilities and put appropriate funding in place to ensure that children requiring general anaesthesia are not left waiting more than a couple of weeks before receiving treatment," said IDA CEO, Fintan Hourihan
The general anaesthesia dental clinic provided in the grounds of St James's Hospital ceased this month due to "problems with the suitability of the building," the HSE said in a statement.
"An alternative location for this service is being sourced at present; and normal service is expected to resume in early 2015.
"In the meantime, urgent cases requiring immediate treatment due to pain or swelling are being dealt with as necessary at private centres in Dublin and at no cost to the families.
"Parents who have concern in relation to this matter should liaise closely with their local public dental clinic, and particularly so if there is any deterioration or pain being experienced since their last dental assessment," the HSE said.