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The Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency amalgamated in October 2014 to form the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

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23 April 2015

Report on the Dental Profession

The Competition Authority found that competition in dental services was restricted and discouraged by an outdated system of regulation. Since the publication of the report (October 2007), positive progress has been made towards enhancing competition in dental services.

Our report found that consumers:

  • had very little information to help them to shop around for dental services; and
  • did not have the benefits of competition between dentists and other qualified oral health professionals.

The report made 12 recommendations designed to enhance competition in dental services. A number of the recommendations have since been implemented.

  • In February 2012 the Dental Council published a new Code of Practice relating to Professional Behaviour and Ethics and removed all laws which prohibited dentists from price discounting, canvassing or the solicitation of patients.  The removal of this ban will allow dentists the flexibility to offer more innovation in the way they offer their services to patients and should lead to an increase in price competition across the profession.

This followed changes in 2008, when the Dental Council:

  • removed unnecessary restrictions on advertising. For example, dentists can now distribute leaflets and advertise in other ways. They can also advertise their prices.
  • established a register of Clinical Dental Technicians.

These changes help consumers to make informed decisions about their oral healthcare, promote greater choice for consumers and encourage dentists to compete for their custom.

A list of the priority recommendations not yet implemented is given below. Implementing these recommendations will further enhance competition in dental services. 

Unimplemented Recommendations


Addressed To

Report Reference

Introduce a new oral healthcare profession of advanced dental hygienists who can operate independently of dentists

Dental Council, Department of Health and Children


Review the number of training places for dentists and other oral healthcare professionals

Department of Health and Children


Explicitly permit the creation of corporate dental bodies Department of Health and Children


Amend the composition of the Dental Council so that each of the professions regulated is represented on the Council and the majority of membership on the Council is from outside the professions being regulated. Department of Health and Children R11.

The Department of Health carried out a public consultation process in June 2013 concerning new legislation to replace the Dentists Act, 1985.

Respondents were invited to express their views on a range of key issues relating to the development of the new legislation including the Dental Council, Dentists and Auxiliary Dental Professionals. Implementation of recommendations made in the Dentists Report 2007 to the Minister for Health and Children, was also considered and examined through this public consultation process. The Competition Authority's submission highlighted that implementation of our outstanding recommendations would lead to a modern system of regulation in the dental profession which ensures patient safety and care at a competitive price for the Government and general consumer. Click here for the submission.

Updated: July 2014

Further information:

Kathryn MacGuill


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Date Printed: 01 December 2015

© The Competition Authority 2015