Children are waiting for orthodontic treatment 21 times longer in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire than youngsters in other parts of Wales.
The shocking waiting times in the Hywel Dda Health Board area have been revealed in a series of Freedom of Information requests carried out by local MP Simon Hart.
"There are more than 1,500 children waiting for treatment in Hywel Dda compared to just 73 in the Aneurin Bevan Health Board area in Newport – and this is in spite of our health board covering 300,000 fewer people than the south Wales board," said Mr Hart.
Hywel Dda has the longest waiting list of any area in Wales – the next worst is Cardiff and the Vale Health Board with 1,019 waiting for treatment.
"I have often heard complaints from parents that they routinely have to wait three years for their children to get treated," said Mr Hart. "It can take more than a year to get assessed and then another two years before treatment starts."
Mr Hart has been told by local orthodontist David Howells, whose practice provides all the NHS orthodontics in the Hywel Dda area, that the situation is only going to get worse.
"Orthodontists are contracted by the Welsh Assembly Government to provide a certain amount of work under a quota system each year," explained Mr Hart. "I am told that even if this quota was doubled it would still take five years to clear the backlog in Hywel Dda.
"It is clear to me that orthodontics in Pembrokeshire is in crisis. The Welsh Assembly Government needs to release more funding urgently."
Simon Hart MP
House of Commons
15, St John St
or 0207 219 3000