Cardiff patients waiting over 2 years to see a dentist

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Patients in Cardiff are waiting over 2 years to see a dentist.

Addressing Senedd members, Ivan Chestnutt, honorary consultant to Cardiff and Vale Health Board, explained that the current waiting time was 26 months. There are currently more than 15,500 people on the waiting list in the area. Individuals who join the list at the moment can expect to wait more than 2 years to get an NHS dental appointment, Prof Chestnutt stated, which could force some people into paying for private treatment.

Prof Chestnutt suggested that the number of people who are waiting to see a dentist is increasing and pressure on dental services is significant. There are enough dentists to provide urgent care for patients who need to be seen in an emergency, but it is increasingly difficult to find appointments for follow-up care and patients are also missing out on routine services.

The British Dental Association stated that there were several reasons for long waiting times, including a “chronic lack of investment” in NHS dentistry, challenges with recruiting and retaining NHS dentists and a surge in the demand for dental care after the pandemic.

Wales’ chief dental officer, Andrew Dickenson, announced changes in dental guidance and provision in July to try to reduce waiting times, including replacing 6-monthly check-ups with 12-monthly appointments for patients with good oral health. The Welsh Government also confirmed a funding boost for dental services worth an extra £2 million per year to increase NHS capacity.

A spokesperson for the government also highlighted adjustments to the NHS dental contract, which should create 112,000 extra NHS appointments per year.

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