Backlog in child tooth extractions

DENTAL extractions performed on decayed teeth in children aged 0-19 in England reduced by over half between 2019/20 and 2020/21 despite no change in demand.

Data from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities show that 14,645 extractions were performed on decayed teeth in 2020/21 in children aged 0-19 compared to 35,190 in 2019/20. However, the proportion of extractions due to decay is virtually unchanged from levels seen a decade ago.

The BDA said that full disclosure is required on waiting times for these procedures alongside a properly funded plan to address the backlog. It points out that tens of thousands of children will be left in pain, facing difficulties learning, eating and sleeping for over a year.

Over 12.5 million NHS dental appointments for children have been lost in England since lockdown and data shows that children from the poorest areas are three times more likely to have extractions than those from the most affluent communities.

Charlotte Waite, Chair of the BDA England Community Dental Services Committee said: "Tooth extractions among children have collapsed, but the level of demand hasn't gone anywhere. COVID has simply left tens of thousands in pain, potentially waiting years for treatment they desperately need. Government has yet to offer real clarity on the scale of the backlog, or a credible plan to tackle it."

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