An increasing number of female dentists are working for the NHS in England according to statistics compiled by the NHS Information Centre.
In the year 2010/11, females accounted for 43.5 per cent of NHS dentists working in England which is a 6.8 per cent increase on the previous year. The trend is particularly notable in the under-35 age group, 55.2 per cent of whom are now female.
Other trends noted in the NHS Information Centre report include a 1.7 per cent increase in the number of treatment courses performed on the NHS in England, which reached 39.2 million in 2010/11. Less than a quarter of all courses of treatment (9.0 million) performed by dentists were carried out on non-paying adults but this group accounted for more than half of all the complex courses of treatment such as bridgework and dentures, carried out during this time. One possible reason cited was the lower standard of dental health among non-paying adults.
A total of 29.2 million patients (56.3 per cent of the population) were seen by an NHS dentist in the 24 months to June 2011 which is a one million increase on the 24 months to March 2006, immediately prior to the introduction of the current dental contract when 55.8 per cent of the population were seen by an NHS dentist.
However, there was a decrease (0.3 per cent) in the number of child patients seen by an NHS dentist in the 24 months to June 2011, despite that number having increased each quarter since June 2008. The report also showed that the number of children receiving a fluoride varnish with their treatment has jumped in the last year. The varnish, which is designed to prevent tooth decay, accounted for almost 850,000 treatments (8.1% of all child treatments included a fluoride varnish) in 2010/11, up 55% on the previous year. There was also a 22% rise in fluoride varnishes for adults.
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