Some Laois children are not receiving orthodontic dental checks, due in primary school, until they are in secondary school, due to a lack of dentists in the county.
Parents of children in Killeshin National School are to contact the ombudsman over the lack of dental services available to their school.
The sixth class students of the primary school on the Carlow border, who are about to start secondary school in September will have to receive their dental checks in secondary school, while other children from the same parish who attend school in Carlow Town have access to a much better service.
Two dentists from the region retired, but only was one replaced. She then went on maternity leave, leaving no cover in the region for school going children. Four dentists are required in the area to deal with the backlog.
Currently, students from the sixth class in 2012/2013 are being screened and they hope to finish this by the middle of the summer, at which time they will start to screen sixth class students from 2014/2015.
At a recent meeting of the Graiguecullen/Portarlington Municipal District, Cllr Padraig Fleming asked the council to request that the HSE provide an orthodontic service in Killeshin Nation School.
“It’s the worst in the county. The pupils in Killeshin can get to sixth class before they are assessed by the dentist. Not they are saying that they might be tested in secondary school.
“The whole service is in a bad situation, but Killeshin could be the worst in Ireland.”
Cllr Aidan Mullins said there had been no full time orthodontist in Laois in a number of years and this was causing the backlog.
Cllr Fleming explained that some children from the same Parish get different benefits because they go to school in Carlow.
“Some children get benefits because they are in school in Carlow. The parish is split and I believe there is a good service in Carlow.”
Since then representatives of the Parents Council, along with the school principal met with HSE area manager, Joe Ruane and the principal dental surgeon, Michael Mulcahy, which was set up by Fianna Fail TD, Sean Fleming who was also present at the meeting along with local councillor, Padraig Fleming.
“The HSE are not promising a lot. They are a full year behind with the dental screenings. We had a fairly frank and open meeting and the parents didn’t leave anything unsaid, but there is no immediate promise of improvement,” Cllr Fleming said.
“The HSE would need two full time extra dentists to catch up on the backlog.”
He continued: “It was very disappointing for the parents to hear this, especially as children going to school in Carlow seem to have a much better service.
“There is no great chance of improvement and the parents were not satisfied.
Cllr Fleming said the parents council in Killeshin were still looking into the possibility of taking a case to the ombudsperson