The Health Service Executive (HSE) became operational on 1 January 2005 and holds responsibility for delivering public health and personal social services in Ireland.
The HSE is mandated with the oral health care of children under the age of 16, adult medical card holders and their dependents, patients in HSE hospitals and institutions, and special needs groups.
The Public Dental Service operates under the umbrella of the HSE Integrated Services Directorate, which oversees the provision of public health services, both inside and outside of a hospital setting. Public dental services are mainly delivered through a network of 32 Local Health Offices (based on the old health board community care areas) in four administrative regions (HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster, HSE Dublin North-East, HSE West, HSE South). Ninety four percent of dentists (WTE) employed by the HSE are in the Public Dental Service. The remaining 6% of HSE dentists (WTE) work in a hospital setting. Dental care in a hospital setting is provided on a referral basis.