Dental patients are facing immediate increases of up to €40 per filling amidst a row between dentists and the Government. The Irish Dental Association has told dentists to make their own arrangements with patients, which could result in them being charged more. This follows a claim for an increase in fees paid to its members by the government for PRSI patients.

Around half a million people a year get their dental treatment under the PRSI scheme. The Government meets most of the cost, with the patient paying the difference.

Fillings are the most common treatment under the PRSI scheme. The dentist is paid €26 per filling by the Government and is allowed to charge the patient a maximum €13.50. The total payment to the dentist is €39.50.

However, dentists say that the real cost of a filling is higher - private patients pay between €50 and €80, which is up to €40 more than the PRSI charge. Dentists have warned that patients may be asked to make up that €40 shortfall for a filling if the Government increase its contribution.