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Dental hygienist appointments this January

Dental treatment (dentistry) in the UK is well-explained, provides good value for money and delivers high levels of satisfaction among patients, according to a report published by the British Dental Association (BDA).

The report follows the survey of 1,000 consumers to explore their experience of dentistry in the UK and found eight out of ten patients who had seen a dentist in the past two years were highly satisfied with their treatment.

Also, almost eight out of ten of those patients who paid for their treatment thought the explanation of fees and charges was ‘good’ or ‘very good’ and more than three out of four rated their treatment as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ value for money.

Four out of five consumers surveyed had visited their dentist during the previous 24 months, the maximum recall period recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), while around one in 15 said they never visited a dentist.

The most common reason given by those who said they had not visited a dentist over the past two years was because they did not feel they needed to. This was particularly the case among men and those under the age of 25.

Cost and fear of dentists were reasons cited separately but in equal measure by one in six of non-attendees and particularly by women who were over four times more likely to cite these reasons than men.  While one in ten non-attendees said they could not find a NHS dentist.

Over 14 per cent fewer consumers in DE social grade categories were found to have visited the dentist in the past two years compared to those in AB social grade categories.

Three out of five patients reported they were aware of their dental practice’s complaints procedure, but only one per cent of patients had made a complaint in the past two years.

Dr Martin Fallowfield, Chair, BDA Principal Executive Committee said:

“The dental profession should be reassured by these findings as a healthy dental market is one which is able to meet patients’ needs. This said, 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.”

The telephone survey was carried-out by GfK NOP on behalf of the British Dental Association in November 2011.


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