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News / August 28, 2013

Action needed for orthodontic shortfall

by Guy Hiscott

Shocking figures have revealed that a high number of children in need of orthodontic treatment have been on waiting lists since 2008.

Between 15,000 and 20,000 children have still not received required treatment, according to estimates by William McAllister, HSE operations manager.

New guidelines were introduced in 2007 that widened the criteria for orthodontics – making more patients eligible and increasing the waiting list by approximately 35%.

McAllister said: ‘We did not receive additional staff to manage this increase. Additionally, we have lost a number of clinical staff and they have not been replaced.’

Demand is so high that there is going to be a trial run to train dental nurses and hygienists to become orthodontic therapists in order to treat more patients.

The growing problem has resulted in health minister James Reilly to tackle the problem. He has commissioned an independent review of orthodontic services.