‘More of an opportunity than ever’ – Denplan host roundtable discussion on UK’s oral health

Denplan's new Oral Health Consumer SurveyFrom NHS communications to dental inequalities, clinicians from across the UK got together to discuss the state of the UK’s oral health yesterday.

Coming together for a roundtable discussion, the conversations revolved around key findings that emerged from Denplan’s newly-released Oral Health Consumer Survey.

These included:

  • The Covid-19 pandemic negatively impacted one in three sets of teeth in the UK
  • One fifth of UK adults do not visit the dentist regularly
  • Three in five NHS patients would consider paying for private dental care. One third of them (36%) were not open to this in the past
  • Only half of UK adults (51%) brush for the recommended two minutes or more.

The event – hosted by Denplan, part of Simplyhealth, and Dentaid – took place at Twickenham Stadium, London.

Chaired by Catherine Rutland, clinical director at Denplan, other presenters included Andrew Evans, Dentaid’s chief executive officer, and Laura Keates, a Dentaid ambassador.

Panellists included:

  • Louis Mackenzie, head dental officer at Denplan
  • Lianne Scott-Munden, clinical support specialist at Denplan
  • Monika Matseke, Denplan practice adviser
  • Matthew Nolan, Denplan practice adviser
  • Niki Keyhani, Denplan dentist
  • Jignesh Panchal, Denplan dentist
  • Shamir Chandarana, Denplan dentist.

Catching up

The roundtable participants each shared how long it had taken them to clear backlogs and how long waiting lists now are.

For some, it took three months to clear the Covid-19 backlog. But others reported it taking up to six months before routine appointments could continue.

There were also discussions on public expectations and perceptions of NHS dentistry.

Niki Keyhani called for better NHS communications after stating that the current communications ‘don’t reflect the reality of how it actually works’.

‘More opportunity’

Laura Keates, a rugby union player and Dentaid ambassador, is in her fifth year of dental school at the University of Birmingham.

She said many dental students have little knowledge about what NHS dentistry will be like. For example the banding system and also treatment expectations.

She said: ‘It isn’t a fear, but rather an unknown.’

Dr Catherine Rutland, the clinical director at Denplan, concluded the discussion by reminding the room that the current climate provides ‘more of an opportunity than ever’ for the dental profession.

Click here to view the full survey.

Dentistry’s top stories

Dr Catherine Rutland said: ‘The coronavirus pandemic has exposed – and in many cases exacerbated – the issues facing mixed and private dental practices across the UK.

‘Despite nearly two years of practice teams doing tremendous work in meeting patient care needs and carrying out treatments under challenging circumstances, access is still hard. Even more so for NHS patients, who in our research show to be attending less regularly than private patients.

‘Looking ahead, financial pressures because of the pandemic, as well as patients being out of the routine of regular attendance will all have an impact.

‘But we are also seeing patients valuing their health more in light of the pandemic.

‘Nearly a third saying they are more likely to visit the dentist as a result. This opens a real opportunity for practices to reach out to these patient groups.’

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