Accessing a special care dentist

Patient information

When accessing a special care dentist, there are a few options available:

General dental practitioners

General dental practitioners (GDPs) provide the bulk of dental care in Ireland. GDPs are private dental professionals who may be able to provide a wide range of dental treatments to patients with special needs. These dentists offer a lot of advantages for people who want to access dental care locally and where other family members receive care. You can ask your dentist if they are signed up to the PRSI or Medical Card schemes to receive free or subsidised care. You can find a dentist by clicking this here.

Republic of Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland, much of the dental care is provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE), to children under the age of 16 and to adults with a current Medical Card. Treatment may be available through the local HSE Health Centre. Persons should contact their local clinic for details. The clinic may redirect the inquiry to a senior dentist. Details of local clinics may be available on the website.

Click here for further details of HSE dental services


Dental hospitals may also provide care to those with special needs; however, these are usually accessed by referral from a general or public service dentist. Sedation/general anaesthetic services may be available through the hospitals/public services; however, local limitations/waiting lists usually apply.


If difficulties arise in accessing dental care, the local health authority should be contacted in the first instance and all avenues explored at a local level. If the outcome of this contact is not satisfactory, the ISDH would recommend contacting your local MP/MEP/TD. Difficulties in accessing care should always be highlighted.

Complaints and compliments

In the Republic of Ireland, you can let the HSE know about your service here. We encourage you to share your experiences with the HSE.

Click here to share your experience.

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