NHS dentists accused of extracting teeth unnecessarily

NHS dentist
The BDA has responded to claims NHS dentists are extracting teeth for lucrative gains

NHS dentists have been accused of extracting teeth unnecessarily because it is more lucrative than saving them.

That’s according to an investigation by The Timeswhich points to the huge amount of UDAs some dentists claim in order to ‘earn almost £500,000 a year’.

Dentistry.co.uk reported on the rise in the number of dental professionals performing ‘too many’ UDAs last week, however The Times has chosen to take a different angle claiming dentists were extracting teeth to avoid offering complex treatment, for which they are paid the same by the health service.

No time for ‘name calling’

‘Some out there would like to say this profession puts “profit before patients”,’ Mick Armstrong, chair of the BDA, said.

‘We know the reality – that we have a failed NHS contract system that puts government targets above all else.

‘The facts are the overwhelming majority of dentists want change.

‘We know that over 90% of dentists believe that chasing government targets is limiting their ability to care for patients who require complex treatment.

‘That 83% say the system is holding them back from preventive work.

‘That for seven in 10 dentists it’s standing in the way of taking on new NHS patients.

‘Dentists have had to contend with a fair share of hysterical headlines.

‘We don’t have time for name calling.

‘Our focus is firmly on securing what’s best for our patients – a contract that really delivers on prevention, which makes a decisive break from tick boxes and targets. 

‘The real risk is that the government remains unwilling to turn the page on the UDA, and despite the need for change, will deliver another, watered-down version of this failed contract.

‘We’ve already made sure our new Minister knows what dentists think, and we won’t be letting up anytime soon.’

Comments (1)

I completely agree with the Times article. I was a patient growing up in the 70’s when there was an incentive for dentists to do lots of ‘drilling and filling’ to make money. Now, despite being registered with an NHS dentist for my children and I, I have to mix and match with private to get our teeth cleaned and sometimes even just to get my children seen in a timely manner. I now need 3 root canals (in large part due to poor preventive dentistry) and, because I have curved roots, can’t do it on the NHS and can’t get a hospital referral because of limited criteria. Private endodontist is quoting me £700-£800 per tooth, excluding crowns. No wonder people feel forced to go abroad for treatments We patients are stuck between a government which doesn’t want to fund NHS dentistry and many dentists for whom the bottom line is about making money; why else are they all diversifying into botox and other cosmetic treatments? The true vocational dentists are truly a dying breed.

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