Over €11 million was claimed in dental benefits to December 2018, under a new scheme drawn up last year.
Whilst the existing social tax paid by employees does not itself generally provide ''free'' dental care, instead requiring individual arrangements, the benefits, provided by the Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa), is aimed primarily at those with low incomes, the unemployed etc.
Around 220,000 people applied for the benefits in 2018, it is reported, in many cases starting the practice of regular dental care.
"Feedback from dentists indicates that they have received visits from people who have not made an appointment with them for a long time or ever before," Viivika Tamra, public relations and health promotion specialist at the Haigekassa board, told BNS.
Haigekassa added that the statistics spoke for themselves as regards the necessity of the scheme, particularly with those in lower socio-economic brackets, who made up about half of applicants.
"This outcome shows that the dental care benefit is of help to people and an important step towards better dental health," Ms Tamra continued.
Under the scheme, up to €40 in benefits is paid per annum provided the person pays half the ensuing dental bill, with that figure rising to €85 per annum for pregnant women, mothers of small children, pensioners and those receiving disability benefits (these latter groups must pay 15% of their bills).
Minors below the age of 19 can get free treatment at any of the Haigekassa's partner dental clinics, it is reported.
Editor: Andrew Whyte