There has been strong reaction from the opposition parties to the latest deal between the Department of Social and Family Affairs and the Irish Dental Association.

Fine Gael's Michael Ring called on the Minister to provide compensation for workers who paid PRSI contributions throughout the dispute and were forced to pay the full cost of dental treatment.

The terms of the deal mean that all dentists will resume their treatment of PRSI patients who will now have to pay 10% more for emergency dental work.

Basic services such as oral examinations, and scale and polish will continue to be free. Dentists will also be obliged to display a full price list in their surgeries outlining the private patient fee and the PRSI patient fee.

The Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Mary Coughlan, welcomed the acceptance of the deal by the Irish Dental Association, a move which will end their long running dispute over pay.

However Labour's Willie Penrose said the Minister had allowed the dispute to rumble on for far too long.

He said that patients who have been unable to get subsidised treatment since the dispute began now find the cost has risen sharply and the cost of vital treatment such as fillings could triple.

The dispute started last July when dentists complained that charges were too low and that patients' contributions should be increased.

This breakthrough will result in the reactivation of the Dental Treatment Benefit Scheme for 1.7 million PRSI workers.