Dáil Éireann - Volume 410 - 02 July, 1991

Written Answers. - Emergency Dental Treatment.

192. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health if he will outline the arrangements which are in place for the provision of emergency dental treatment for children attending national schools; whether he has satisfied himself that the present arrangements are satisfactory; if he has any plans for improvement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Health (Dr. O'Hanlon): The provision of dental service for children attending national school is a priority of the community dental services programme. Children requiring emergency treatment are given precedence over those requiring routine treatment and I am satisfied that the arrangements made by health boards in this regard are satisfactory.

In most areas routine treatment services for schoolchildren are provided in health board dental clinics following a screening examination carried out through the schools. My Department have recommended to health boards that all children in first or second and sixth classes be [284] examined each year. The choice of the earlier examination can be varied with local custom in order to ensure that children who present for the screening are of an age when dentition is sufficiently developed to permit the application of fissure sealants where necessary. Children are examined again in sixth class to ensure that they are dentally fit when they leave the national school system.