Extractions become more commonplace as state funding for dental treatment is halved in Ireland

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The number of extractions carried out in Ireland has risen, as figures also confirm that state funding for dental treatment has fallen by more than 50 percent in the last 8 years.

Data shows that funding provided through schemes like PRSI has fallen from €150 million in 2009 to €75 million in 2016. During the same time period, the number of extractions carried out on medical card holders has increased, and the popularity of fillings and cleaning treatments has fallen. Research suggests that there has been a 38 percent increase in hospital admissions for dental infections at St James’ Hospital, Dublin following the reduction in state funding.

Budgets for dental care were slashed in 2009 as a result of the global recession. Before changes were introduced, card holders were entitled to a free check-up and cleaning treatment each year, as well as reduced fees on other routine dental treatments, including fillings, extractions and root canal treatment. When the cuts were brought in, entitlements to reduced fees were banished, and card holders had access only to a routine check-up. As a result, dentists believe that many people who cannot afford to see a dentist are missing out on routine appointments and ending up in hospital with infections, which would normally be treated by a dentist.

The latest figures show that there has been a 15% increase in the number of extractions carried out between 2009 and 2016. The number of extraction procedures in hospitals has increased by 40 percent in the same period of time.

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