Quarter of patients avoiding dental treatment due to cost, survey finds

  • Date: 27 April 2023

ALMOST a quarter of adult patients in England have delayed or gone without NHS dental treatment due to cost, a YouGov survey has found.

The poll of just over 1,700 people found that 23 per cent skipped treatment for financial reasons. Almost half (45 per cent) said that price shapes the type of treatment they choose, more than those following the clinical recommendations of their dentist (39 per cent).

The findings prompted calls from the British Dental Association for the government to abandon plans to increase dental treatment charges next year by a further four per cent.

The professional association said an “overwhelming majority” of people support a move away from increased fees, with 38 per cent of those surveyed saying dentistry should be fully funded by government through general taxation, making it effectively free at the point of delivery.

More than a quarter of respondents (29 per cent) said government should increase funding while maintaining some patient charges. There was also strong support for an extension of NHS dentistry to cover more people, such as cancer patients whose treatment can cause severe dental problems.

BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said the planned increase in fees “won't put a penny into NHS dentistry, it will just force millions to think twice about needed care".

The BDA has called for a “sustainable funding settlement” to keep pace with inflation and population growth.

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