The significant majority of dental professionals (96%) believe lockdown has negatively impacted the UK’s oral health.
As a result, they are calling for greater access to affordable dental care.
This is according to a survey carried out by Mydentist on clinicians across more than 600 dental practices.
Other findings include:
- 88% of dental professionals believe the UK’s dental health could decline because of a lack of routine appointments, leading to worsened preventative dental issues
- 77% are worried lockdown means oral cancers will be missed and, as a result, not referred
- 60% of participants believe certain patients could delay trips to the dentist to treat minor symptoms, for example toothache and bleeding gums. This could lead to larger problems in the long term
- 41% believe it will take between one year and 18 months for the nation’s oral health to recover
- 12% predict it will take a minimum of two years for the UK’s oral health to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Long journey ahead
Before the pandemic, more than half of all dental practices in the UK did not accommodate new NHS patients.
And an additional 75% reported troubles in recruiting enough dentists to meet public demand.
Nyree Whitley is group clinical director at Mydentist. She says: ‘Temporarily suspending routine dentistry during the pandemic was absolutely the right thing to do. This helped to protect patients and colleagues and to help stop the spread of the virus.
‘But it came at a cost and it will be felt by both the profession and patients for several years to come.
‘As our research shows, we’ve got a long journey ahead of us – particularly since access to affordable dentistry was limited before the pandemic.
‘We’ve worked hard to reopen as quickly and as safely as possible to help get the nation’s dental health back on track. But we need an urgent review of access to dentistry to ensure no patient misses out.’
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