The Association of Dental Groups (ADG), whose members consist of corporate providers of NHS and private dentistry across England and Wales, have written to the Secretary of State for Health asking him to pause NHS dental charges to patients following the Covid-19 lockdown.
The ADG supports the call by the Oral Health Foundation earlier this month that by temporarily pausing NHS dental costs, it will offer an incentive for those in poorer health, needing more expensive treatment, to have their conditions treated.
From dental practice closures on 23 March to the gradual re-opening on 8 June 2020, an estimated 2.3 million NHS adult dental patients in England had appointments cancelled or postponed. The cancellation of these procedures, if left untreated or unmanaged, could lead to more invasive and expensive treatments in the future, as well as deterioration of oral health.
Chair of the Association of Dental Groups, Neil Carmichael said:
“As the dental profession gradually reopens clinicians face an overhang of untreated oral healthcare. The priority must be to address this as quickly as possible.
One third of adults in deprived areas of England have tooth decay. That was the findings of the Public Health England oral health survey published last month. These patients are most likely to be deterred from visiting their dentist due to confusion and concerns about patient charges at a time of financial anxiety for many.
Pausing NHS dental charges would be a nominal sum for HM Treasury. However, it would send out a significant public signal from ministers that dentistry remains a fundamental part of a person’s health and wellbeing and that the Government wishes to “level up” access across the whole country.”