Claims children's teeth were damaged after braces left on too long

Claims children's teeth were damaged after braces left on too long
File photo.

The medical files of over 7,500 children are being reviewed over allegations their teeth were "damaged" by orthodontic services in Dublin.

According to the Irish Times, it is alleged children had braces left on for longer than intended leading to damage.

Others had to get false teeth because the appliances were not removed when they should have been.

The HSE audit relates to some patients who received treatment between 1999 and 2002.

Retired consultant orthodontist Ted McNamara, who made the original complaint, said it was disappointing the HSE had still not published the review, which was completed in 2015.

I was complaining for up to 14 years about damage to children’s teeth. It was obvious there was a problem, but no one did anything about it for years.

The audit of orthodontic services began in 2015 after the HSE received a highly critical report commissioned from two UK experts into the allegations.

The Irish Times said it sought a copy of the review under freedom of information three years ago but this request was refused. The HSE said it was “not yet finalised for publication” and was with its lawyers.

Last week, a spokeswoman told the publication it was “in effect” a scoping report commissioned to advise the HSE on what actions to take if there was a risk of harm to patients.

“The HSE cannot, as a matter of course, commit to the publication or otherwise of such reports prior to their completion, as the benefits of publication must be balanced with the requirement for patient confidentiality, and our obligation to afford natural justice to all other parties concerned.”

It comes as the Government prepares to launch its oral health policy this week, which is expected to recommend the roll-out of free dental care to children from next year.

Dr Anne Twomey is a dentist in Carrigaline in Cork and says the scale of the problem is stark.

"Over 10,000 children have a general anaesthetic every year to have rotten teeth removed from their mouths. That is for a preventable disease," she said.

"The number one reason why any child in Ireland is hospitalised for a general anaesthetic is to have teeth removed. I'd like to see that number coming down.

"The only way that number will come down is if resources are put in there to prevent it."

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