Patients awaiting oral surgery are being put at risk by repeatedly using antibiotics, according to the Irish Dental Association.
Although the HSE advises members of the public to avoid over-use of antibiotics, the IDA says it is because of long delays in arranging oral surgery that medical card patients are being forced to use them for prolonged periods.
The delays are a result of cutbacks in preventative treatment, under which dentists are only permitted to fill two teeth a year, while there have also been cuts to staffing and theatre time in hospitals.
Speaking at the IDA’s annual conference in Kilkenny on May 16, leader of the IDA General Dental Practitioners Committee, Dr Ryan Hennessy, said: “We regularly advise our patients that taking an antibiotic is not an alternative to effective treatment of underlying oral health problems, and that repeated prescriptions are not a solution. While antibiotics may improve the symptoms of dental issues, they do not remove the cause.
“It is therefore alarming that due to HSE delays in arranging necessary treatment for patients who require specialist oral surgery, patients must repeatedly take multiple prescriptions of antibiotics prescribed by their dentist or doctor to help control recurrent infections.”
The IDA intend raising the issue with the Minister of State for Primary Care, Mr Alex White, TD.