'Agony' | 

Wicklow boy (11) endures agonising wait for HSE dental treatment

“He finds it difficult to eat and sleep. He has lost so many school days”

Iosa Ghani. Photo by Tony Gavin

Eilish O'Regan

A young boy who is in serious pain due to a dental condition he was born with which affects his back teeth is desperately waiting for the go-ahead 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 many times .

His worried mother Hazel said she has taken him for several check-ups to the HSE clinic in the area but he has ended up with no treatment so far despite the urgency.

The procedure calls for an anaesthetic to be administered in hospital but the boy has encountered delays and confusion over blood tests.

Two dentists have signed off on the procedure but despite the impact on her son’s life and education it has still not happened despite Hazel being told in 2018 the teeth need to be removed. “He woke up the other day and he was in agony,” she said.

The treatment should be provided free through the HSE under the schools’ dental programme.

“He finds it difficult to eat and sleep. He has lost so many school days,” she said.

“He has pain in his teeth and has been very good with it. It is very painful but he has developed a high tolerance.”

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

Mr Turner, who practises in Rathdrum, said: “His mother is at her wits’ end. We restored the teeth as much as we could and she said it has brought him relief.”

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

“We see children all the time who are going through the school system and are not being screened in second, fourth and sixth classes as they should through the HSE programme.”

It means many children are losing out on preventive care.

“Also the criteria for getting a child on an orthodontic waiting list is very strict and a lot of children miss out. The waiting list delays are for years.”

Recent figures obtained by David Cullinane, Sinn Féin’s spokesman on health, shows that nearly 2,030 children are waiting for dental surgery under general anaesthetic nationally.

A spokeswoman for the HSE community healthcare east area covering Wicklow, Dublin south-east and Dublin south, said the Covid-19 emergency had a significant impact on the provision of all health services , including dental services and some delays and backlogs remain as a result.

In Iosa’s community healthcare area, 46 children in the school dental scheme have been referred to have teeth removed.

“It is likely some of these have already been treated but discharge letters have not been processed yet,” the spokeswoman said.

She said there is limited access to appointments at short notice that require a general anaesthetic.

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