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Published on February 14, 2014

The new NHS dentistry statistics- a summary

The new NHS dentistry statistics- a summary

On Thursday the 13th February the Health and Social Care Information released new statistics about dentistry in the UK.

The figures revealed that in 2013, 29.9 million patients were seen by an NHS dentist. This equates to 55.9% of the UK population and is an increase on the figures from March 2006, which is when these records started. The figures from March 2006 showed that, at the time, 55.6% of the population were seen by an NHS dentist, 1.8 million fewer patients than the new 2014 statistics.

With regards to paediatric dentistry, the number of children seen by an NHS dentist has increased by 1% since the baseline number was recorded in 2006. However, the percentage of the UK child population seen by a dentist shows a reduction (69% compared to the 70.2% baseline figure).

The report splits the treatment statistics into patient types: paying adults, non-paying adults that are exempt or remitted from paying a charge to the full cost of treatment, and children. It also splits it into treatment bands. The more complex the treatment, the higher the band number. Band 1 refers to a check-up and simple treatment whereas band 3 refers to crowns, dentures and bridges.

The statistics show that the most band 3 treatments were carried out on non-paying adults, which could indicate a lower standard of dental health among the lower socio-economic classes. Evidence of this is also seen in the 2009 Adult Dental Health Survey which states that there is a clear gradient in oral health related quality of life according to socio-economic position, with lower socio-economic groups reporting more prevalent and also more severe oral impacts.

The new 2014 report also mentions how in December 2009, when the current dental contract was introduced, there was an increase in the number of patients seen by a dentist. It will be interesting to see what influence the new dental contract may have on these statistics.

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