It is being claimed the Public Dental Service for primary school children is on the verge of collapse.
The Irish Dental Association says the falling number of dentists employed in the service means some children are waiting a full 12 years for their first check-up.
Currently 300 dentists work for the service but the association says a 50% increase is needed to deliver effective treatment.
Fintan Hourihan, Chief Executive of the Irish Dental Association, said: “You know, clearly there is a need for more dentists to cope with the rising demand for their services.
“Unless we see action on this shortly, we think the whole service is on the verge of collapse.”