Dental care for children is still free in the UK Health Services. Despite this, many parents don’t know this and assume that because they can only get private care locally, that their children are under the same “rules of the game”. I am told that the most common operation on UK children is now dental extraction or clearance. It used to be grommets, or tonsillectomy… These are still common in the privately driven health services such as the US. But in UK medicine all children for non dental operations are seen and assessed by someone else prior to surgery. Dentistry is different. The same person assesses as operates – and this is a matter of legalised perverse incentives. Having a Dental Hygienist make the diagnoses, and the dental surgeon operate would remove this perverse incentive, probably reduce the need for surgery, and save money by rationing sensibly. The way to control the dental profession is the same as the medical profession – overcapacity.
Tonsillectomy and grommets are now part of the “proven unnecessary” operations in 90% of the cases performed when they topped the list in the UK. Good dental care prevents heart valve disease and many other problems. It is a disgrace that there is no education campaign to help parents be aware of their free dental service.
Nine of the 10 boroughs with the UK’s worst rates for dental care are in the capital — with two-thirds of children aged up to 17 in Kensington and Chelsea, Hackney and Tower Hamlets not having seen a dentist last year.
Professor Nigel Hunt, dean of the Royal College of Surgeons’ faculty of dental surgery, said: “The number of children in London who did not see a dentist in 2016 is unacceptable…..
A toddler in Texas dies after unnecessary dental work. Reported in the Mail 29th March 2016.
Who is entitled to free dental care in England? Health England