The Competition Authority 2007 study on the dental profession found that competition in dental services was restricted and discouraged by an outdated system of regulation. Since the publication of our study significant progress has been made towards enhancing competition in dental services.
The study found that consumers:
Had very little information to help them to shop around for dental services
Did not have the benefits of competition between dentists and other qualified oral health professionals
The study 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 of Ireland 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.