Ireland is ‘losing dentists’through lack of specialist training

Ireland is ‘losing dentists’through lack of specialist training

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland’s dental faculty has warned that Ireland is losing dentists it has trained to other countries through a lack of dental specialist training in the Republic. It says that many dentists training to become dental specialists are forced to travel abroad to study because Ireland has no formal mechanism for State-sponsored training.

“Many do not return, which means Ireland loses out on this talent, having provided State-funded undergraduate dental training,” says dean of faculty Dr John Marley.  The Irish Dental Council recognises only two specialist fields, orthodontics and oral surgery, according to Dr Marley. The UK, in contrast, recognises 13.

He continues: “Furthermore, unlike doctors, pharmacists, accountants and solicitors, Irish dentists are not required by law to undertake continuous professional development training. This means there is no formal mechanism for dentists to demonstrate to the public that they are maintaining their skills and knowledge and keeping up to date.”

The faculty has urged the introduction of an intern year for all dentists, more specialist training and mandatory continuing professional development. At present, newly qualified dentists are “thrown into the deep end” and are permitted to go directly into dental practice, he says. A mandatory intern year for all new dentists is standard practice in UK dentistry and in the Irish medical profession.

Increased numbers of dental specialists are needed to staff advanced oral healthcare centres, proposed by the Government under a new national oral health policy, according to the faculty. “Without the appropriate educational and training support, the dental profession in Ireland is unable to assure patients that they are receiving the safe and contemporary standard of care they expect.”

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