The dental pilots are trialing a new prevention based NHS contract for dentists.
Barry Cockroft, chief dental officer at the Department of Health (DH) said: ‘The pilots are playing a vital role in overhauling the dental contract, by looking at how we can shift dental care to a more preventative approach, paying dentists for good oral health rather than number of procedures they do.
‘This is why we have extended the dental pilots for another year, to make sure these new methods are well tested before being shared across the rest of the country.’
The focus over the next year will be to further refine the preventative approach, building on the learning to date and understand how this can be effectively put to wider use.
Although originally announced in 2013, the new dental contract may now not be ready until 2015 when the current pilots have finished.
The DH have announced that some of the findings from the pilots already show that the new preventative approach is showing good clinical results (findings so far can be downloaded here).
Patients are assessed as having low, moderate or high risk of future disease and across the pilots the percentage of patients classified as high risk is reducing as dentists help patients take better care of their teeth and gums.