The Irish Dental Association has urged people to prioritise their oral health and not to ignore dental pain, gum infection or trauma.
The call follows the death of 26 year old Vadim Kondratyuk Anatoliyevich, a father of two from California, who passed away after a dental infection spread to his lungs.
The President of the IDA, Dr PJ Byrne described the death as a terrible tragedy.
“While deaths from dental infection are thankfully rare, this tragedy underlines the fact that untreated tooth and gum infections can lead to other health complications and even fatal consequences. Prevention is key. Don’t ignore an abscess, gum infection, swelling or dental injury and be sure to visit your dentist promptly if you have a concern” he said.
Dr Byrne pointed to a study from 2015 which showed there had been a 38% increase in the number of patients admitted to Irish hospitals with severe dental infections.
“We have no doubt that the swingeing cuts which were made to the medical card and PRSI dental schemes as well as the Public Dental Service are responsible for this massive increase. These cuts have removed preventive treatments, putting our patients at risk from dental disease with potential risks to their general health. At present antibiotics are often prescribed in the absence of the availability of effective treatment.”
“When that study was published the IDA described the level of admissions for dental infections in a so called first world country as a disgrace. If anything the situation is getting worse and people are being left with severe abscesses and potentially life-threatening infections.” Dr PJ Byrne concluded.