More Irish people going abroad for dental treatment

The Dental Complaints Resolution Service had 102 complaints last year

More Irish people going abroad for dental treatment

File photo of a dentist at work | Image: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/PA Images

There has been a significant rise in the number of Irish people going abroad for dental treatment, according to a new report.

The Dental Complaints Resolution Service (DCRS) has also found an increase in the number of people buying DIY whitening and orthodontic kits.

It is advising people against either option, because they cannot help patients who encounter problems.

It dealt with 102 complaints last year.

The main areas were fees (23 complaints), clinical issues (22) and communication failures (13).

The DCRS said it resolved 58 of the 102 complaints within the year.

Of the 44 remaining cases, the DCRS says up to half may already have been resolved between the dentist and patient.

Complaints received in 2016 | Source: DCRS

According to the report, a total of 19 complaints could not be accepted as they related to issues outside its remit - including work done under medical card schemes or dental work performed outside the Republic of Ireland.

This is almost double the 10 complaints of this type it received in 2015.

One of the main reasons people are travelling is because of the price.

Tracey from Co Wicklow said she paid a fraction of the price for work done in Portugal.

"I got something similar to a crown - it was called a composite restoration - and I got that done for €100.

"When I came back to Ireland and priced it, it would have been €300.

"So overall I'm seeing that the price is about one-third in Portugal of what we pay here in Ireland".

Michael Kilcoyne is a facilitator with the DCRS. He told Newstalk Drive they cannot help a lot of people who undertake DIY dentistry.

"The reason we received the complaints was that consumers were unhappy about what was happening - they had bought this product... and of course it didn't work out and they contacted us to complain.

"But we have no remit over that area because they're not dentists."

"The fact is that some of the damage that's been done is pretty serious - and if you're buying stuff online and there's a lot of complaints about the product and there's a number of lawsuits - for example - against them, some of these companies will go into liquidation and they're gone".

"People that are involved in this, as far as we can ascertain, they are not dentists at all - so they have no comeback".