The Failure of NHS Dentistry Equals More Reforms | Dentistry

It may not be a surprise to many people who use NHS dentistry on a regular basis, but a recent study has revealed that NHS dentistry has actually gotten worse since a reform was introduced by the government less than half a decade ago. As the relationship between NHS dentistry and the public becomes increasingly fractured ,more and more patients are beginning to opt for private dentistry than ever before.In 2006 the government issued a new dental contract in order to improve the standards of NHS dentistry, which was, by the accounts of dentists and patients alike, badly in need of reform. Now, just three years after that reform, an independent review (that was commissioned by the government) has reported that the previous reform has done what many in England thought impossible: it has caused standards of NHS dentistry to fall even lower.


One of the most intriguing things that has been brought to light by the independent review is that over one million fewer patients visited an NHS dentist in the two years after the contract was brought in than had visited an NHS dentist in the two years prior to this. As a result of this, it looks like NHS dentistry is in line for yet another reform.Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, is one of the only people who has not acknowledged the reform as a total failure. However, most commentators on the subject are long past acknowledging that and a question being put forward regularly by commentators is that of why the 2006 reform was not successful.An obvious reason for the failure of the 2006 reform lies in the story behind one particular statistic. NHS figures show that around one thousand dentists chose to stop doing NHS work when the reform was brought in, which was a move predicted by many unions at the time. Some went into retirement and others chose to move toward exclusively private work. However, one of the main reasons for the reform was the lack of NHS dentists. In certain areas of England it was virtually impossible for people living there to even access an NHS dentist. On top of this, many dentists signed the 2006 contract “in dispute”. This meant that months were spent in discussion of the terms and conditions between managers and the dentistry profession, further complicating and delaying the reform.These problems were, of course, just the tip of the iceberg, and the political opposition parties have been extremely vocal in their criticism of the reforms. One spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats went as far as to call NHS dentistry a “national disgrace.”


Put simply, the changes made to NHS dentistry have been received very badly because they have not worked out and now the NHS contract is being totally reworked once again. It is hoped that the new contract will make it easier for patients to access information regarding dentists in their area, particularly ones who have NHS slots free. This will be done by setting up helplines for patients to call. It is also suggested that they will be able to call NHS Direct to get the information. The payment fee system is also due for a reworking.Ultimately, private dentists have already benefited greatly from the poor image NHS dentistry has brought upon itself over the past decade, which is an image that the public will take some time to forget. A reform that actually works would certainly be a step in the right direction.

Cosmetic Dentistry Offers Many Aesthetic Choices | Dentistry

In the UK dentistry can be broadly split into two camps – general or cosmetic – and these days many more private dentists are offering both. Although some people will only visit the dentist when they are in pain and require immediate treatment most of us visit for regular check-ups and to ensure constant dental hygiene.General dentistry comprises all oral procedures that are essentially non-cosmetic, such as inserting fillings and fitting bridges and crowns. When registering with a dentist for general treatment you will also normally have x-rays taken as part of the first consultation in order to give the dentist a clear picture of what’s happening in your mouth in areas that can’t be seen.


While having healthy teeth and gums should be considered essential, healthy teeth aren’t necessarily good-looking teeth. Some people have natural winning smiles thanks to their genes but others may need a little help. That is where cosmetic dentistry comes in as it concentrates on the aesthetic qualities of your teeth; whitening, veneers, inlays & onlays, dental implants and cosmetic bonding are all examples of cosmetic procedures.Teeth become discoloured because of everyday activities such as drinking coffee, tea and red wine, and in such cases it doesn’t matter how much you scrub your teeth they will never become sparkling white. Teeth whitening is one of the easiest and cheapest cosmetic dentistry procedures, especially if done at home. Specialist cosmetic dentists also provide a full teeth whitening service at their clinics as well as a part home / part clinic solution.Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that could be considered to be cosmetic dentistry and concentrates on the correction of abnormalities of jaws and teeth; aiming to produce a healthy mouth which is then less prone to disease and boasts a healthy bite.


Many UK dentists now provide a mixture of both general and cosmetic dentistry, often treating patients through both forms of their craft. From the insertion of a must-needed filling to the process of teeth whitening both improve the look and performance of an individual’s teeth and for many people it is irrelevant whether the treatment they receive is classified as general or cosmetic dentistry. For them, what really matters is a healthy mouth and a winning smile. If that can be achieved through a combination of good oral hygiene, timely general dentistry and a selection of cosmetic dentistry, then that is all that matters.