17 May

New survey suggests millions are missing out on free NHS dental care

shutterstock_349195511A new survey suggests that millions of people are missing out on free NHS dental care because they don’t realise they are eligible for subsidised treatment.
A poll by mydentist revealed that parents are unaware that children receive free dental care on the NHS. Many participants also overestimated the cost of treatment for adults, with some expecting the fee for an urgent dental appointment to be five times higher than the standard rate of £20.60. Those who responded also thought that services like crowns, extractions and root canals also cost significantly more of the charge of £56.30 for band 2 treatments (fillings and extractions) and £244.30 for the most complex treatments, such as bridges.
Parents weren’t the only group that was found to be missing out on free dental care. More than 20 percent of women were unaware that they could access free dental treatment during pregnancy and for the first12 months after giving birth and almost half of the 2,000 people polled didn’t realise that under 19’s who were in full-time education were entitled to free dental care.
The lack of knowledge is causing people to miss out on valuable dental services, which could have a dramatic impact on their oral health. Of those surveyed, more than a quarter hadn’t been to a dentist in the last 2 years, despite advice from dentists to attend routine checks every 6-12 months. Around 10 percent of people admitted that they never go to the dentist.
Steve Williams, clinical director at mydentist, said that the poll findings underline the need for better clarification when it comes to NHS dental fees and entitlement to free dental care. Children are able to access free care on the NHS, but parents are unaware that this free service exists and this is contributing to rising rates of decay in many parts of the country.