Austin Powers poked great fun at British teeth, so I don’t think I’m saying anything to outre when I point out that the Brits haven’t traditionally been known for their high quality dentistry. Indeed, when I lived there, people were taken aback by my insistence on an annual cleaning. The dentist who did the cleaning told me that he and his colleagues were trained in American dental techniques, but didn’t use them much, considering them a bit over the top. It turns out that the dentists worry less and less about going over the top and more about scraping bottom:
NHS dental patients are receiving below standard treatment because dentists are being forced to make decisions based on the financial cost of procedures, it has been claimed.
The Dental Laboratory Association (DLA) has suggested figures over the last few months show a dramatic decline in certain treatments because dentists have been administering less complex procedures.
A drop in the most complex “Band 3” treatments being administered has been attributed to the introduction of a new contract for dentists in April.
Chief executive Richard Daniels said: “The current contract is forcing dentists to make prescription decisions based on financial resources rather than clinical need.”
He added: “We are getting a lot of inquiries from patients, mainly the most vulnerable in society who require dentures, who just can’t get them.
“So rather than getting a denture they are having a tooth extracted. We are going back to the dark ages of dentistry.”
The DLA claimed that, according to a survey of its members, there had been a 57% reduction in treatments such as crowns and dentures.
The Government has claimed the new contract is designed to cater for modern needs however, as drastically improved dental health has meant that fewer complex treatments are necessary.
I assume you all picked up on the fact that this is managed dental care in the ugly spotlight.