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Full extent of NHS dentistry shortage revealed

PUBLISHED

Nine in 10 NHS dental practices across the UK are not accepting new adult patients for treatment under the health service, a BBC investigation has found.

BBC's research shows no dentists taking on adult NHS patients could be found in a third of the UK's top-tier councils. And eight in 10 NHS practices are not taking on children.

The Department of Health said it had made an extra £50m available "to help bust the Covid backlogs" and that improving NHS access was a priority.

BBC News contacted nearly 7,000 NHS practices - believed to be almost all those offering general treatment to the public.

The British Dental Association (BDA) called it "the most comprehensive and granular assessment of patient access in the history of the service".

While NHS dental treatment is not free for most adults, it is subsidised.

The BBC heard from people across the UK who could not afford private fees and said the subsidised rates were crucial to getting care.

The lack of NHS appointments has led people to drive hundreds of miles in search of treatment, pull out their own teeth without anaesthesia, resort to making their own improvised dentures and restrict their long-term diets to little more than soup.

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Source: BBC News, 8 August 2022

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