New figures confirm major drop in UK dental activity

By - Primary Care Journal

New figures confirm major drop in UK dental activity

Newly released figures from NHS Digital reveal exactly how much dental activity has dropped because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the newly released NHS Dental Statistics, England: 2019-20, 21.01 million adult patients were seen for NHS dental treatment in the 24 months to the end of June 2020, equating to 47.7 per cent of the population. This is a reduction of 876,000 adults compared to the 24 months to the end of February 2020, when 21.89 million adults or 49.7 per cent of the population were seen.

During the peak of the initial wave of Covid-19 dental practices were instructed to close for routine care and provide only urgent treatment from March 25 to June 8 as part of restrictions to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

For child patients, 6.3 million were seen in the 12 months to the end of June 2020, representing 52.7 per cent of the child population. These numbers are a reduction of 758,000 children compared to the 12 months to February 2020, when 7.06 million or 59.0 per cent of children were seen.

In 2019-20, 38.38 million courses of treatment were completed by NHS dentists. This is compared to 39.72 million in 2018-19, a drop of 3.36 per cent. Examinations were the most commonly carried out treatments for both adults and children, while the second most common treatments were scale and polish for adults and fluoride varnish for children.

Charges to patients for NHS dental treatment totalled £854.44 million in 2019-20, compared to £854.58 million in 2018-19.

The report also found that for the second consecutive year, more than half of dentists were female 51.3 per cent, compared to 48.7 per cent who were male.

The NHS Dental Statistics reveals figures on dental activity including patients treated by NHS dentists and the number of patients seen within the maximum recommended gap between appointments. The report also includes regional information showing the number of child and adult patients seen, as well as the number of courses of treatment, the type of treatment and charges to patients.

Two further reports relating to primary care dentists in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have also been published.

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