Dental professionals voice concerns over low-quality dental care
MANCHESTER, UK: Over a thousand dentists, including Dr Dave Cottam, chair of the General Dental Practice Committee, have recently signed a letter published in the Daily Telegraph and titled “A lack of funding and an increase in bureaucracy have left NHS dentistry in a rotten state”. The letter was drafted by Dr Tony Kilcoyne, appointed dentist member at the General Dental Council, and addresses current issues in dentistry in the UK, such as the difficulty experienced by many in finding an NHS dentist and dental patients turning to illegal providers for cosmetic work.
The letter was accompanied by an article, written by the Daily Telegraph’s health editor, Laura Donnelly, which focused on the rise in illegal tooth whitening.
Kilcoyne told the Daily Telegraph that urgent action was needed to improve patient access and that young people were increasingly turning to beauticians and DIY kits in an attempt to create perfect smiles. “We’ve seen a big increase in straightening in the last year, and whitening has been increasingly popular for a good few years, with Instagram and social media making people like the idea more. The problem is people are having this done illegally, by beauticians, hairdressers, or buying kits online, and this can result in major damage,” he noted.
Responding to the letter, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We want everyone to have access to high-quality dental care and in the last two years over 22 million adults were seen by a dentist. It is illegal for anyone other than a dental health professional to perform a tooth whitening procedure. Trading Standards can prosecute any company using or supplying an illegal concentration of hydrogen peroxide for the purpose of tooth whitening.”
“Improving oral health is part of a wider focus on prevention in our NHS Long Term Plan—backed by an extra £33.9 billion in cash terms a year by 2023/24,” the spokesperson added.
More information about the letter can be found here.