Patients are most in the dark about implants, crown and bridges when it comes to dentistry.
That’s according to new figures released today (Tuesday) by the British Dental Health Foundation.
Implants, crowns and bridges and other removable appliances topped the list of queries flooding into its countrywide dental helpline, making up around one in seven (13%) of all enquiries.
Increasingly important issues to the public included advice on oral hygiene (7%) and legal and professional conduct issues (6%).
The findings were based on analysis of more than 150,000 enquiries from the public over the past five years and offered an insight into some of the trends over that time.
In 2006, five issues accounted for well over half of all enquiries from the public (58%).
These included NHS Regulations (15%), Dental Charges (13%), Finding a Dentist (11%), Prosthetics (11%) and Complaints (8%).
In 2011, the same five issues accounted for 44% of all enquiries – but there were significantly lower enquiries relating to dental charges (-8%), NHS Regulations (-4%) and Finding a Dentist (-3%).
Sharon Broom, the Foundation’s director of operations, says: ‘A new dental contract in 2006 created significant interest in NHS regulations and charges. Since then, the public has become more familiar with NHS Dentistry. However, with a new dental contract being piloted in some parts of the UK, we are already forecasting another increase in calls when the new contract is rolled out.
‘Overall, the public has remained fairly consistent with its information needs over the past five years. We are pleased that the number of calls regarding oral hygiene is increasing. A greater awareness of consumer rights in all aspects of everyday life is also spreading into dentistry, with more and more callers seeking information on legal issues.’
‘The Foundation’s Dental Helpline is staffed by qualified dental nurses and costs, on average, £9 per call. It continues to be funded entirely by charitable donations and we hope the dental profession and trade continue to support this unique and important part of patient communication.’
The British Dental Health Foundation has been providing an independent and impartial dental helpline since 1997.