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Ageing population may place strain on NHS dentistry

British dental association logo

Private dentists may become even more in demand in the future, as the UK's ageing population is expected to place an unprecedented strain on the NHS.

Professor Damien Walmsley, scientific advisor to the British Dental Association, told the BBC that more people are keeping their own teeth thanks to improvements in oral care.

With a growing number of people avoiding the need for dentures, this is likely to increase demand for fillings and care for tooth erosion, Professor Walmsley said.

"Fillings, crowns and root canal treatment have only been designed to last 20 years and may need to be replaced or maintained," he revealed.

"Decay will cause problems as older people tend to get a different kind of decay, often around the gums, which needs to be treated differently."

Health minister Ann Keen told the news provider that the NHS would need to commission services to meet the public's needs.

Dentists are already struggling to meet demand, with a Citizens Advice survey published in January 2008 revealing that one in six people had been unable to visit an NHS practitioner for almost two years.

Failure to make regular trips to the dentist may place people's oral health at risk unless they secure the services of a private dentist instead.

© Adfero Ltd

 

Dentistry news update: 3 December 2009