Medical Card holders and those who have made the required amount of PRSI contributions are entitled to free dental treatment, and all children receive free annual dental check-ups.
Children at primary schools see a school dental nurse and many primary schools have a dental surgery on the premises. Children are entitled to see a school dentist every 12 months, although a backlog has been developing for several years resulting in most children seeing a dentist only once every 18 months (they don’t seem to mind!). All children up to the age of 16 (18 if still at school) are entitled to free treatment by the dentist of their choice, assuming that he participates in the ‘free dental scheme’ (many dentists have withdrawn from the scheme because of the inadequate fees paid by the Department of Health and Children).
To find a dentist, ask for recommendations from neighbours, colleagues and friends, or look under ‘Dental Surgeons’ in the Golden Pages. It’s a good idea to shop around as fees can vary considerably, particularly for extensive repair work. It’s wise to obtain a quotation before having any ‘expensive’ treatment.
All dentists in Ireland must be registered with the Dental Council (Tel. 01-676 2069), which also deals with complaints about individual dentists.
There are currently no companies offering dental insurance in Ireland. In its private health insurance plans, BUPA Ireland includes a contribution of per year towards routine dental treatment and emergency treatment. Otherwise dental insurance (usually optional) is available under some foreign health insurance policies or a worldwide health scheme. Treatment required as the result of an accident may, however, be covered by a standard personal accident policy.