Dental Care in Ireland
Oral health is of vital importance to the well-being and general health of every individual. Diseases of the mouth and oral cavity have a significant impact in terms of pain, suffering, impairment of function and reduced quality of life.
There are approximately 2,000 dentists practising in Ireland, in Private Practice, HSE Dental Service, the army and hospitals.
There are two state schemes under which patients may receive state subsidised dental treatment.
PRSI Dental Scheme
The Dental Treatment Benefit Scheme is available to insured workers and retired people who have the required number of PRSI contributions. Under this scheme, the Department of Social Protection pays the full cost of an oral examination once a year. The examination is provided by private dentists who are on a Department of Social Protection's panel. Most dentists are on the panel so you should not have any difficulty finding one. You can find a dentist in your area who participates in the Scheme in our Find-A-Dentist section. The dentist or the Department will have the application forms. These forms require details such as your Personal Public Service Number (PPSN). If you are a dependent spouse or civil partner, you should give the PPSN of the insured person. The Treatment Benefit Section of the Department of Social Protection manages the Scheme Locall: 1890 400 400. Further information on the scheme is available here.
Medical Card Dental Scheme
The HSE manages the dental scheme for medical card holders. This scheme is available to medical card holders who are 16 years of age or over.
Under the scheme private dentists who have an agreement with the HSE can carry out free dental treatment for you. You can search for a dentist who participates in the scheme in our Find-a-Dentist section.
The HSE introduced changes to the Scheme in April 2010. Under the new measures the range of treatments available are being prioritised in accordance with their clinical necessity and priority. Services for high-risk patients (including those with special needs), and those requiring exceptional care, continue to be available.The remaining care provision is subject to prior approval, which will be required from a clinician in the HSE, who will prioritise:
- High risk and exceptional patients
- Those requiring emergency care
- Patients who are considered to have a greater clinical urgency and/or necessity in receiving care.
The Irish Dental Association advises patients to check with your local dentist who can check what treatment is available to you. For further information on the Medical Card Scheme you can click here.
Dental Care for Children
The HSE's Children's Dental Service is available to:
- Children under 6 years of age
- Children who are attending national school
- All children who have left national school and are under 16 years old.
- Children with special needs
- Child dependants of medical card holders.
This service is provided by dentists in local HSE dental clinics. These dentists also operate the School Dental Programme where national school children and children with special needs are screened in selected classes.
Emergency treatment is available:
- To all eligible children
- Without an appointment
- At any HSE dental clinic open on the day (Please contact your local clinic to confirm emergency times and the clinics that are open on the day).
(Non-urgent cases may be given an appointment)