What is the NHS dental shortage and why is it happening?

People turn to “DIY dentistry” because they can’t get appointments, nine out of 10 NHS Dental practices in the UK are not accepting new adult patients.

No dentists are accepting adult patients for treatment in a third of the UK’s more than 200 council areas, an investigation has found.

A survey of around 7,000 NHS practices also found that eight in 10 did not accept children.

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How big is the dental shortage?

Around 8,533 dental practices in the UK are thought to have NHS contracts and BBC And a survey by the British Dental Association received responses from 6,880 of them.

91 per cent of NHS practices in England were not accepting new adult patients. This rose to 97 per cent in the East Midlands and 98 per cent in the South West, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.

Of those practices, 23 percent said they had an open waiting list. Sixteen percent of respondents said they waited a year or more for treatment or said they couldn’t say how long the wait was.

According to Healthwatch England, people are “pulling their own teeth”.


What problems did the dental shortage cause?

Due to the lack of NHS services, people are forced to carry out dental treatment on their own, sometimes in very primitive ways.

Louise Ansari, from Healthwatch England, told Today’s program of Radio 4: “I think the research really confirms and reinforces what we’ve been saying for a number of years, and the situation is pretty dire, right?

“Many people can’t get an NHS dental appointment, have pain, anxiety, some can’t eat or talk properly.

“And suddenly, really, it’s not unusual for us to hear stories about DIY dentistry, things like making teeth out of resin and supergluing them into the gums, which is an absolutely desperate situation for someone.”

Asked if she had heard of people pulling their own teeth, Ms Ansari added: “Yes, absolutely.”

NHS dentistry is “at the tipping point”, the British Dental Association has said


What is the impact on the dental sector?

Sean Charlwood, chair of the British Dental Association’s general dental practice committee, said NHS dentistry is a “tipping point”.

According to him, “Millions [are] They cannot get the necessary help and more dentists [are] departure every passing day.

He added: “We are seeing the results of years of chronic neglect exaggerated by the pressures of the pandemic. Now the question is, will ministers stand up before it is too late?

“Nothing we have heard from the government to date gives us any confidence that this service has a future.” Without real reform and fair funding, NHS dentistry will die and our patients will pay the price.”

Why is there a shortage?

Lack of dental care is caused by a mix of factors. According to Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, very few new dentists are trained.

He added that Brexit, the coronavirus and dentists’ dissatisfaction with NHS contracts had also contributed to the shortage.

“We had a perfect storm,” he said guard. In May this year, the LibDems warned that England was facing a “dental shortage crisis” as 14 per cent of NHS dentists approached retirement.

Of the 23,733 dentists in the country (14 per cent) carrying out NHS work, 3,416 (14 per cent) were aged over 55, according to figures from the House of Commons Library.

What is the NHS dental shortage and why is it happening?

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