Boy (11) endures agonizing wait for HSE dental treatment

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A young boy in great pain due to a dental condition he was born with that affects his back teeth is desperately waiting for the green light to have them removed.

The condition suffered by Iosa Ghani (11) from Roundwood, Co Wicklow, who has enamel hypoplasia in his back teeth, leaves him with difficulty eating and sleeping and has caused him to miss school on several occasions ..

His concerned mother, Hazel, said she took him for several checks at the area HSE clinic, but he ended up without treatment
so far despite the urgency.

The procedure requires the administration of an anesthetic in the hospital, but the boy has encountered delays and confusion over blood tests.

Two dentists approved the procedure, but despite the impact on her son’s life and education, it still hasn’t happened despite Hazel being told in 2018 that the teeth needed to be removed. “He woke up the other day and he was in agony,” she said.

Treatment should be provided free of charge through the HSE as part of the schools dental programme.

“He has trouble eating and sleeping. He lost so many school days,” she said. “He has a toothache and he is coping with it very well. It is very painful but he has developed a great tolerance.

The family have since sought services privately through Wicklow dentist James Turner in a bid to ease some of the pain Iosa is suffering.

Mr Turner, who practices at Rathdrum, said: ‘His mum is out of breath. We restored the teeth as much as we could and she said it gave her some relief.

However, he added that “the boy’s teeth are unrecoverable without spending a lot of money” and that would involve root canal treatment on four teeth. The alternative is to have them extracted.

“We see children all the time coming through the school system and not being screened in second, fourth and sixth grade as they should be under the HSE scheme.”

This means that many children are deprived of preventive care.

“In addition, the criteria for placing a child on an orthodontic waiting list are very strict and many children are absent. Waiting list delays go on for years.

Recent figures obtained by David Cullinane, Sinn Féin’s health spokesperson, show that almost 2,030 children are waiting for dental surgery under general anesthesia nationwide.

A spokeswoman for the HSE Community Health Eastern Zone covering Wicklow, South East Dublin and South Dublin, said the The Covid-19 emergency has had a significant impact on the provision of all health servicesincluding dental services and some delays
and arrears remain accordingly.

At Iosa community health area, 46 children from the school dental system were referred to have their teeth removed.

“It is likely that some of them have already been processed, but the release letters have not yet been processed,” the spokeswoman said.

She said there is limited access to short-notice appointments that require general anesthesia.

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