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Oral Health Care System and Services

Oral Health Insurance System - Ireland (2004)


  • Since 2000, children under 16 years attending state schools have access to free dental care in 11 regional health boards through the Health Board Dental Service (HBDS). In addition, children aged 7, 9, 11 and 13 are targeted for screening and preventive measures. 80% of those who have been screened utilize the HBDS subsequently. However, overall utilization of HBDS for children of all age groups is less than 50%. Salaried dentists, consultants and dentists from the hospital services and dental hygienists deliver care. Orthodontic care is free for children in severe categories of need.

    Adults have 2 schemes. The first is for over 16 low income group and called Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS). Nearly 1 million out of a total population of 3.9 million are covered by this scheme and delivered by 1,140 dentists in private sector on a fee per item basis. DTSS covers examination, scaling, fillings, extractions, root treatment and periodontal and removable prosthetic treatment and provided free of charge and is available to all medical card holders including those over 70 years and 40% utilized in 2001. The second is called the Social Insurance Funded Dental Scheme (SIFDS) in which 1,200 private dentists provide care to those who contribute to Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI). Some treatment is free while other treatments are part met by the patient. Spouses are also covered. This scheme covers 1.2 million people and was used by 50% in 2001. It is estimated that 300,000 have dual eligibility under both schemes. Inpatient oral surgery related, limited number of dental procedures are covered by private health insurance.


    Widstrom E and Eaton K.A. Oral health care systems in extended European Union. Oral Health Prev Dent. 2004; 2: 155-194. Abstract PubMed.

    Health Expenditure

    % of GDP Spent
    on Health
    Annual Expenditure
    on Oral Helath Care
    % of GDP Spent
    on Oral Health Care
    Year Source
    Total 7.5 Eur 320 million, 1) 0.33 (2004) 2007 2)

    1) Widstrom E and Eaton K.A. Oral Healthcare systems in the extended European Union. Oral Health Prev Dent. 2004; 2: 155-194.
    2) Manual of Dental Practice. The Council of European Dentists, Nov 2008.
    Last updated by Gisela Ladda Tayanin