The Competition Authority wants significant reform of the dental system as it says a lack of competition is pushing up prices, with Irish consumers paying above the odds.

In a report published today, the authority concludes that competition is restricted and discouraged by an 'outdated system of regulation'.

The report says dentists cannot advertise prices, give discounts, or canvas for customers.

It says consumers do not have the option of going directly to qualified hygienists and technicians for services and dentures, and the number of professionals being trained is not sufficient for the demand that is there.

Chairperson Bill Prasifka said the Competition Authority is calling for significant reform which places the consumer first.

He said consumers are currently paying too much for dental services, which is not surprising considering the rules in place.

'Consumers are in the dark when it comes to shopping around for a dentist. Why shouldn't dentists advertise and compete on the same terms as any other business?', he said.