40% of dentists think it will take over a year to clear treatment backlogs

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A survey carried out by the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England has revealed that 40% of dentists think it will take over a year to clear treatment backlogs.

Approximately 40% of dentists surveyed believe it will take longer than 12 months to clear backlogs at their practices. A quarter said that the majority of patients waiting for treatment were children and almost 40% had experienced recruitment issues during the pandemic.

The main reason backlogs amassed was practice closures during the first lockdown between March and June 2020 but many dentists believe that current restrictions have hampered efforts to reduce waiting times. More than 50% of the dentists surveyed said that measures in place at the moment are contributing to long waits for patients.

The most significant problem, according to 54% of dentists, was fallow time between patients. Almost half of dentists said social distancing was a barrier, with 25% suggesting staff shortages were an issue.

Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery, Matthew Garrett, said that it is good news that dental services are up and running again, but indicated that waiting times are a growing concern within the profession.

The majority of practices are now in a position to offer routine services, but nationally, thousands of patients are waiting to see a dentist. Perhaps the most worrying statistic for dentists is the 25% of dentists who said that children made up the majority of patients waiting for treatment.

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