Who’s who in Irish dentistry?

This glossary provides a look at the main organisations involved in dentistry in the Republic of Ireland.

Dental Complaints Resolution Service (DCRS)
The DCRS helps to resolve disputes between dentists and patients without the need for recourse to legal professionals. It can and does prevent complaints escalating to more serious fora.

Dental Protection MPS
Dental Protection is Ireland’s largest dental indemnity provider. It is part of the Medical Protection Society and is active in Ireland, the UK, and in many other countries across the globe.

There are a number of insurers offering dental cover in Ireland, including VHI, Laya, and DeCare.
Garda Benevolent Fund
This fund provides a level of dental benefit to gardaí. Claims must be supported by paid receipts and a completed dental chart giving details of work carried out, the date and cost of each item, and the name of the patient.

Oral health promotion
Dental Health Foundation
The Dental Health Foundation has as one of its aims to improve oral health in Ireland through advocacy and oral health promotion. It proactively engages across all platforms in working alongside Government, health and dental professionals, national and local organisations, and the public.

Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control (AMRIC)
The national AMRIC team issues antimicrobial safety alerts, key messages, etc., to dentists and other community prescribers.

Dental Council of Ireland
The Dental Council regulates the dental profession in Ireland. It produces codes of conduct and other documents, and deals with serious complaints against dentists. The Dental Council may bring fitness to practise proceedings against dentists.

Department of Health
The Department of Health is the Government department that oversees the regulation, governance, and policy of the health industry in Ireland, including dentistry. It provides funding for the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS), often called the medical card scheme.

Chief Dental Officer (Department of Health)
The Chief Dental Officer, Dr Dymphna Kavanagh, works within the Department of Health’s Health Protection Division. Her work includes, among other projects: the national oral health policy; governance of the Ministerial Expert Body on Water Fluoridation; and, consideration of dental regulation.

Department of Social Protection
The Department of Social Protection is the Government department in charge of the Dental Treatment Benefit Scheme (DTBS), otherwise known as the PRSI scheme.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The EPA is the competent authority for the Ionising Radiation Regulations, 2019, which cover the protection of workers and members of the public. The use of oral radiology in Ireland must be authorised in advance by the EPA through either a registration or a licence.

Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA)
HIQA inspects dental practices that provide medical exposure to ionising radiation. HIQA is the Irish body responsible for ensuring that Irish dental practices comply with the European Union (Basic Safety Standards for Protection Against Dangers Arising from Medical Exposure to Ionising Radiation) Regulations 2018 and 2019, which cover the protection of patients during medical exposure.

Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA)
The HPRA regulates medicines and medical devices in Ireland. Its remit and regulatory functions include human and veterinary medicines, clinical trials, medical devices, controlled drugs, blood and blood components, tissues and cells, and cosmetic products.

Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC)
The HPSC produces annual epidemiological reports covering all areas of infectious and communicable disease surveillance carried out in Ireland. It produced the document ‘Guidance on Managing Infection Related Risks in Dental Services’.

Health and Safety Authority (HSA)
The HSA’s role is the protection of workers, human health and the environment. It also oversees that products are compliant with EU legislation. It has published guidance on occupational hazards in dentistry.

Health Service Executive (HSE)
The HSE is Ireland’s national health service, which provides some dental care to children and special needs patients. Local authorities Local authorities are the competent authorities appointed for monitoring compliance requirements for dental facilities’ handling of amalgam waste. Each local authority is obliged to monitor compliance by dental practitioners situated within its functional area.

Workplace Relations Commission (WRC)
The WRC is the body to which industrial relations disputes, and disputes and complaints about employment laws, are referred. The WRC also provides advice to people on their rights as workers, and publishes material on employment rights and industrial relations.

Representative bodies
Irish Dental Association (IDA)
The IDA is the representative body for dentists in Ireland. The IDA’s mission is to represent dentists in Ireland, to advocate for oral health, and to educate and support dentists in developing ethical, rewarding and sustainable practice on a lifelong basis.

Irish Dental Hygienist’s Association (IDHA)
The IDHA advocates for dental hygienists and oral health in Ireland. One of its initiatives is Brush Bunny, which encourages daily toothbrushing in preschools.

Irish Dental Nurses Association (IDNA)
The IDNA is involved in the promotion, education and development of the dental nursing profession in Ireland. The group supports all dental nurses in the provision of oral health services to the community.

Irish Dental Trade Association (IDTA)
The IDTA represents and supports manufacturers and suppliers of dental products, services and technologies, to the benefit of members, the dental profession, and the public.

Special interest groups
Irish Dental Benevolent Society
The Society is a registered charity operating in the Republic of Ireland, which provides discretionary financial or other relief, when practicable, to dentists and/or their families, when the need arises.

Irish Endodontic Society
The Irish Endodontic Society promotes and advances the study of pulp conservation and endodontic procedures. Its ASM is usually held in January, and attracts Irish and international speakers.

Irish Society for Dentistry for Children (ISDC)
The ISDC is dedicated to promoting good oral health among children and teenagers. It maintains a national network of oral healthcare professionals who are passionate about the oral health of children.

Irish Society for Disability & Oral Health (ISDH)
The ISDH wants to empower people with special healthcare needs and those who support them to achieve oral health through advocacy, community and education.

Irish Society of Periodontology (ISP)
The ISP has a special interest in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and the supporting structures of the teeth, and in the placement and maintenance of dental implants.

Mouth, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Ireland (MHNCAI)
MHNCAI has been involved with Mouth Cancer Awareness Day (MCAD), which is usually held annually in September. The body promotes awareness of the signs and symptoms of MHNC to the public.

Orthodontic Society of Ireland (OSI)
The OSI is the professional body for orthodontists in Ireland, and promotes best practice through education and research.

Practitioner Health Matters Programme (PHMP)
Any doctor, dentist or pharmacist in Ireland who has a concern about stress, burnout, mental health difficulties, or who may have an alcohol or drug misuse problem, can receive confidential help from experts at the PHMP.

Undergraduate and postgraduate education
Cork University Dental School and Hospital (CUDSH)
The CUDSH trains undergraduate dentists, along with dental nurses and dental hygienists. On its postgraduate programme are the doctorate in clinical dentistry and the master’s in dental public health.

Dublin Dental University Hospital (DDUH)
Part of Trinity College Dublin, the DDUH is one of two schools in the State providing undergraduate training for dentists, dental nurses and dental hygienists. The DDUH also provides many postgraduate programmes in areas such as orthodontics, special care dentistry, conscious sedation, and much more.

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Faculty of Dentistry (RCSI)
The RCSI provides postgraduate education to dentists. Its Faculty of Dentistry runs a number of courses and scientific events.

Colm Quinn
Journalist and Sub-Editor, Think Media