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Publisher’s probe unmasks ‘existential crisis’ in dentistry

A regional publisher has unmasked an “existential crisis” facing dentistry after a group-wide investigation.

JPIMedia has examined the “forgotten arm of the NHS” and found dentistry was facing unprecedented challenges on multiple fronts even before the impact of coronavirus was known.

Problems uncovered by the investigation include huge numbers of people going to A&E with dental problems and increasing rates of mouth cancer.

The British Dental Association has reported that in the year to the end of August, 15 million appointments have been missed due to the pandemic while the service has only provided around a quarter of the treatments it would normally have done in pre-Covid times.

Dentist NL

The investigation provided splashes for titles including the Belfast News Letter, pictured above, Portsmouth daily The News and Blackpool daily The Gazette yesterday.

BDA chair Eddie Crouch told JPIMedia it was clear that dentistry was now grappling with an “existential crisis”.

Harriet Clugston, acting JPIMedia data and investigations editor, said: “We all know the health service has come under enormous strain during the coronavirus crisis, but as the often forgotten arm of the NHS, the myriad problems facing dentistry often slip under the radar.

“The millions of appointments missed during the pandemic have compounded already pressing issues with access to care, rocketing rates of mouth cancer, and shocking numbers of dentists struggling with suicidal thoughts.

“Through a series of hard-hitting articles, data analysis, and personal testimonies, the JPIMedia investigation has exposed a system in decay, with dentists and patients suffering alike.”