UK dental care highly rated by patients

DENTAL treatment in the UK is well-explained, provides value for money and delivers high levels of satisfaction among patients, according to a new report.

A survey of 1,000 people found eight out of 10 who had seen a dentist in the previous two years were highly satisfied with their treatment. And almost eight out of 10 of those who paid for treatment thought the explanation of fees and charges was “good” or “very good” with more than three-quarters rating their treatment as “good” or “very good” value for money.

The figures were revealed in Public perceptions of choice in UK dental care, commissioned by the British Dental Association.

Of those surveyed, four out of five had visited their dentist in the previous 24 months while around one in 15 said they never visited a dentist. The most common reason for not visiting the dentist, particularly among men and the over-25s, was that it was not felt to be necessary.

Cost and fear of dentists were cited separately but in equal measure by one in six non-attendees. Women were more than four times more likely to use this excuse than men. A further one in 10 non-attendees blamed an inability to find an NHS dentist.

When asked about complaints, three out of five patients were aware of their practice’s complaints procedure but only one per cent had complained in the past two years. More than 14 per cent fewer patients from low income backgrounds had visited their dentist compared to their wealthier counterparts.

Chair of the BDA Principal Executive Committee Dr Martin Fallowfield said the dental profession should be “reassured” by the findings. But he added: “We should not be complacent. From our survey there are still one in four people not attending the dentist regularly for a number of reasons, and those figures are substantially higher among the more financially pressed social groups, which impacts on preventive care and early detection of health risks and oral cancer.”

Read the survey on the BDA website here

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