Dáil Éireann - Volume 461 - 14 February, 1996
Written Answers. - Orthodontic Treatment.
Ms Keogh Ms Keogh
71. Ms Keogh asked the Minister for Health whether there is a longer delay period for school children who have been categorised by the dentist as being in need of mild to moderate orthodontic treatment in receiving treatment than for other categories; the average waiting period for this category being treated by dental clinics; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3246/96]
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East) Michael Noonan
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East): Children requiring orthodontic treatment at secondary care level are assessed by health boards in accordance with guidelines issued by my Department and placed on waiting lists according to the severity of their treatment need.
The cases of greatest need are placed in category A (the most severe cases) or category B (cases with severe functional handicap) and have priority over children placed in category C (non-handicapped cases). Category A cases receive immediate treatment, where possible. The waiting period for category B cases can range from 12 months to about 4 years. At present there is an indefinite waiting period for category C cases.
In some areas mild orthodontic conditions are treated at primary care level by health board dental surgeons who have adequate orthodontic skills.
The health board orthodontic services are currently being developed in accordance with the dental health action plan. The action plan provides for a consultant led orthodontic service in each health board. Most health boards now have a consultant in place and are consolidating and extending their orthodontic services under the overall direction  and supervision of the consultant. In addition to his/her own direct clinical involvement, each consultant is required to organise and co-ordinate training for health board dentists in the provision of orthodontic treatment. This will achieve a high level of service at a high standard and improvements in waiting periods. However, treatment will continue to be provided on a priority basis to category A and B cases.
Dáil Éireann 461 Written Answers. Orthodontic Treatment.