‘Significant’ rise in employers offering dentistry benefits predicted

dentistry benefitsHealth insurance companies are predicting a ‘significant’ rise in companies offering dentistry benefits to their employees.

As dental practices start welcoming patients back, many have to pay more for additional PPE and reduced surgery use. Demand for dentistry services is also high after many were unable to access treatment during lockdown.

As a result, health insurance companies predict the cost of private dentistry will start to increase to cover any losses.

‘With most dentists forced to shut due to COVID-19, only treating or referring urgent cases, businesses and employees alike will want to get back on track with dental care now that surgeries are gradually reopening,’ Brett Hill, distribution director at Towergate Health and Protection, said.

‘Access to NHS dentistry is about to become more difficult than ever, and costs for private dentistry is expected to rise. We are likely to see an increase in businesses investigating options available to support staff with their dental health. Such as providing greater financial support for check-ups and treatment.’

Dentistry benefits

More than nine in 10 dentists believe lockdown has had a negative impact on patients’ oral health.

As a result, many are calling for greater access to affordable dental care. That’s despite the increase in costs for dental practices.

Mr Hill believes that employers will want staff suffering from non-urgent requirements to receive treatment as quickly as possible. He says this will help for a quick and comfortable return to work following lockdown.

‘Employers will be very aware of the health concerns their staff may have faced during lockdown,’ Mr Hill continues. ‘They will be eager to support them as restrictions are lifted.

‘With dental surgeries beginning to reopen across the UK, a key way for businesses to support staff is by helping them to afford treatment and check-ups.

‘Providing benefits, such as dental insurance or health care cash plans, businesses can support employees with getting their health back on track. In turn, potentially improving wellbeing and absence.’

Accessibility

Before the pandemic, more than half of all dental practices in the UK did not accommodate new NHS patients.

And an additional 75% reported troubles in recruiting enough dentists to meet public demand. That’s according to a recent survey from Mydentist on clinicians across more than 600 dental practices.

Other findings include:

  • 88% of dental professionals believe the UK’s dental health could decline because of a lack of routine appointments, leading to worsened preventative dental issues
  • 77% worry lockdown means missing oral cancers and, as a result, not referring them
  • 60% of participants believe certain patients could delay trips to the dentist to treat minor symptoms, for example toothache and bleeding gums. This could lead to larger problems in the long term
  • 41% believe it will take between one year and 18 months for the nation’s oral health to recover
  • 12% predict it will take a minimum of two years for the UK’s oral health to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Nyree Whitley is group clinical director at Mydentist. She says: ‘Temporarily suspending routine dentistry during the pandemic was absolutely the right thing to do. This helped to protect patients and colleagues and to help stop the spread of the virus.

‘But it came at a cost and both the profession and patients will feel it for several years to come.

‘As our research shows, we’ve got a long journey ahead of us – particularly since access to affordable dentistry was limited before the pandemic.

‘We’ve worked hard to reopen as quickly and as safely as possible to help get the nation’s dental health back on track. But we need an urgent review of access to dentistry to ensure no patient misses out.’


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