Saturday, March 01, 2008

Dental system in crisis as one in six Britons can't afford a check-up

From the Daily Mail

The soaring cost of dental treatment has been blamed for millions of Britons having teeth in shockingly poor state, a new report has found. More than 11million adults have not seen a dentist over the past two years because they could not afford to have a check-up.

Almost eight million patients admitted they refused a recommended course of action from their dentist because, once again, it was too expensive.

The research from Dentale, a new dental clinic, could explain the surveys other shocking findings. It reported that more than half of British adults have at least one tooth missing and five million claim they have lost more than five.

One in five people in Scotland and the Midlands rated their teeth as being in a poor or very poor condition - the worst results in the UK. Almost half of the adult population do not have access to an NHS dentist. In January the British Dental Association revealed more than 1,000 dentists had stopped providing NHS care since the introduction of the controversial new contract in 2006.

The contract aimed to give more patients the chance to register with an NHS dentist and encourage preventive care. It also simplified the charges for dental work.

But there has been mounting concern that it has had the opposite effect, with dentists rejecting NHS patients or providing less complex treatment over fears their income will be hit.

Jason Buglass, a dentist with 21 years experience of Dentale said: "Our findings are absolutely shocking. We are one of the richest countries in the world but we are known for having bad teeth. Our research suggests that one of the main reasons for this is that people cannot afford to go to a dentist."

"Some people have decided to go abroad for dental treatment because it can be much cheaper, but this can involve a number of risks such as not being able to communicate with your dentist properly, or the cost and inconvenience of having to go back if anything goes wrong or for aftercare.

"Despite this, our research shows that since 2003, 1.29 million Britons aged 16-64 have had dental treatment outside of the UK because it was cheaper."

Dentale commissioned the market research poll of 1,000 patients aged 16-64.

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