London dentists report surge in new child patient requests as parents struggle to get appointments

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Dentists in London have reported a surge in requests for appointments for children as parents struggle to get appointments closer to home.

Dr Esther Shin, from Toothbeary, a private practice in Twickenham, said that parents are calling from all over the country desperately trying to find a dentist to see their child. Many are willing to travel for miles to get an appointment as there are no services offering appointments locally. Dr Shin said that there has been a 50% increase in requests for new child patient appointments, with many parents paying for private care because they can’t see an NHS dentist.

Dental therapist, Daisy Wigan, suggested that some families are able to pay for private treatment for their children but there are many others who simply don’t have the funds to go to a private practice. Ms Wigan said that the situation underlined the importance of coming up with plans to tackle backlogs and ensure that patients are able to see a local dentist without having to wait for months or even years.

The latest statistics on dental attendance show that 70% of children did not see a dentist in the 12-month period leading up to the 31st December 2020.

There is real concern among dentists that missing out on routine appointments and dental health initiatives, which may have been suspended during lockdown, will lead to increasing rates of decay among children. Tooth decay is already the leading cause of hospital admissions among children in the UK.

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