Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (687)

Éamon Ó Cuív


687. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health if he will provide details of the free dental services available to persons with medical cards; the waiting list for these services; if persons who lose fillings are entitled to have them replaced under this service; the delay in providing this treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9948/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) provides access to dental treatment for adult medical card holders. The service is provided by contracted dentists. As funding has been capped at the 2008 level of €63 million, the HSE prioritises for treatment patients with special needs, high risk patients and those who have greater clinical needs. A free oral examination every calendar year and free emergency dental treatment with a focus on relief of pain and sepsis are available to all eligible patients, regardless of their medical condition. This includes 2 fillings, all extractions and a number of complex treatments.

The National Oral Health Office of the HSE issued Standard Operating Procedures to dental contractors in November 2011 to provide clearer guidance to them on the application of DTSS prior approval requests. The Standard Operating Procedures confirm that high risk patients are to be prioritised for approval for treatment. All fillings as required and complex care including root canal treatment, gum treatment and dentures are available to such patients subject to prior approval by the HSE.

If a patient is not deemed high risk or vulnerable and a filling has already been provided in the previous five years, a replacement filling on the same tooth is not approved. For patients who are high risk or vulnerable, a replacement filling may be approved if a satisfactory explanation as to the clinical necessity for the repeat treatment is given by the dentist.

There are no waiting lists for this service.