Waiting for NHS dentist considered worse than pulling teeth

17 October 2007
According to a Dentistry Watch survey from the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, many people are going without dental treatment, or even resorting to do-it-yourself dentistry, as they are unable to find a local NHS dentist.

While it used to be the thought of the dentist’s drill that made people shudder, it is now the revelation that six per cent of people in the UK are taking dental matters into their own hands that is making people cringe. This number includes people who are actually extracting their own teeth, despite having received no medical training.

The survey found that more than 10 per cent of respondents are not registered with a dentist, and 35 per cent of these blamed the lack of NHS dentists in their area for this.

It also found that 58 per cent of dentists believe the new dental contracts introduced in April 2006 have made the quality of care NHS patients receive worse and 84 per cent said the contract had not made it easier for patients to get NHS treatment.

Furthermore, almost half of patients said they did not understand the new charging system and 20 per cent went without treatment because of the high price.

Private dental healthcare could be a viable alternative to removing teeth with pliers, or sticking dentures with superglue, measures to which some people have resorted according to the survey.

Private care often includes emergency and non-emergency treatment, regular check-ups and X-rays. Most offer a monthly payment plan to avoid large one-off fees, although some treatments are not included.

Find out more about private dental treatment, private dental insurance plans and NHS dental charges

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