The HSE provides dental care to children under 16 and special needs patients through its dental clinics. Independent dental practitioners provide care to medical card holders through the Dental Treatment Services Scheme; to the self-employed and retired people who have the required number of social insurance (PRSI) contributions through the Dental Treatment Benefit Scheme; and to private patients.
The HSE established 38 emergency dental clinics for children and eligible public patients who may not have been able to access a HSE contracted dentist when care was restricted to emergency care. The HSE has reported that it was not aware of any indications that the private patient group had difficulty accessing dental care when it was restricted to emergency care only.
The necessary legislative amendments have now been made and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has worked with the dental profession and in particular the Dental Council, to provide revised guidance for the profession to allow for the resumption of the safe provision of routine care. This is in line with Phase 1 of the Government's Plan for the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, from 18 May.