Grin and bear it: how the dental schemes work and what they cost

Posted in Articles by saraburke on October 21, 2009

Dental Treatment Services Scheme: Under the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS), adults who are medical card holders are entitled to free dental care. Treatment is free to the patient, and privately practising dentists who take part in this scheme claim back the cost of services provided from the Primary Care Reimbursement Scheme (PCRS) in the HSE on a fee-for-service basis.

In August 2009, just over one million people were entitled to the DTSS. Its budget in 2009 is €85 million. As it is a demand-led scheme, it is impossible to accurately estimate the numbers who will avail of the scheme and the cost of it. These have increased significantly since 2008 as more adults are entitled to this scheme, due to the increasing number of medical card holders.

Dental Treatment Benefit Scheme: The Dental Treatment Benefit Scheme (DTBS) contributes to the cost of dental care for about two million working people who pay PRSI contributions, their spouses and dependants. All PRSI contributors are entitled to an examination and a clean free each year, while other treatments are subsidised.

Last year, 1.5 million treatments were provided under this scheme. Dentists who practise privately are paid a fee for this service by the Department of Social and Family Affairs, which runs this scheme. Its budget for 2009 is €68 million.

Public Dental Scheme:

The Public Dental Scheme (PDS) provides free dental care for children, adults with special needs and people in long-term residential care. About 200 dentists work for the PDS as salaried HSE employees.

The PDS operates a screening programme for all children attending national schools in 2nd, 4th and 6th classes. This programme provides preventive and other treatments when required. The budget for the PDS for 2009 is €60 million.

Private dental care:

Many people pay each time they get treated by a dentist. The vast majority of dentists in Ireland operate as self-employed private practitioners. Patients pay the full cost of care at fees agreed with the dentist. Tax relief may be available for fees associated with some types of specialist dental care.

Tue, Oct 20, 2009

© 2009 The Irish Times

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