The dire situation in dentistry has been revealed in a new investigation which found that no dentists are taking on adult patients for treatment.
This was seen in a third of the UK’s more than 200 council areas.
The survey of around 7,000 NHS practices also revealed that eight out of 10 were not taking on new children. A recent BBC investigation has shown a severe NHS dentistry shortage.
Many people are already with a dentist.but with the numbers of mouth issues and lack of dentists, could an NHS dentist remove you from the list? Here we take a closer look.
What did the investigation find?
According to the BBC investigation:
Eight in 10 NHS practices are not taking on children and young people as new patients
One in 10 local authorities did not have any practices taking on under-16s for NHS treatment, despite children in full-time education being entitled to completely free care on the health service
About 200 practices said they would take on a child under the NHS only if a parent signed up as a private patient
Nine in 10 NHS dental practices across the UK are not accepting new adult patients for treatment
In a third of the UK’s more than 200 council areas, no dentists are taking on adult NHS patients
Can you be removed from your dental practice?
Worryingly, due to the high number of people wishing to receive NHS dental treatment, some dental practices could have no choice but to remove patients who have not attended for two years or more from the NHS list.
Certain practices are deciding to remove people from their practice unless they follow two rules such as:
Don’t miss an appointment or be late
Don’t allow more than two years to lapse between appointments
What is the cause for lack of appointments?
The cause for the severe lack of dental appointments are attributed to the first coronavirus lockdown in 2020 which meant that dentists were not able to see their patients for three months.
When practices did open again there was a major backlog to catch up on.
While dentists played catch up a number of appointments were missed which had a further ripple effect.
Dentist Rhona Eskander told GB News: “It’s massively increased and particularly during the pandemic because there was such a backlog of patients that weren’t being seen.
“We were shut down for about three months, the first three months of the pandemic after the national lockdown, and because of that people were resorting to pulling out their own teeth.
“However, the problem continued because when dentists actually opened up what had happened was that people that were having regular check-ups were no longer coming in for their regular check-ups.
“And so, diseases that were once reversible, such as decay became irreversible and tangent to things like root canals or extractions, which then led to people pulling out their own teeth.”
Eskander added that because dentists were not seeing these patients already after the backlog, these diseases just got worse.
“In fact, actually, there have been studies to show that about 2,000 dentists have also left the profession since the pandemic and in the last year, ” she added.