New project launched in Bradford to increase availability of dental appointments

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A new project, which aims to increase the availability of dental appointments, has been launched in Bradford.

According to guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), it is not necessary for all patients to attend 6-monthly dental appointments. However, many patients still have this timeframe in mind when booking dental checks. The project has been launched to see if it would be possible to create more openings for dental patients by increasing the gap between routine appointments.

The project has been put together by a number of groups, including Healthwatch Kirklees, NHS England and Public Health England, and involves working with dentists and members of the public to increase the duration between appointments in cases where patients have a low risk of dental health issues. NICE guidelines suggest that those with healthy teeth and gums may only need to see the dentist every 12-24 months.

Helen Wright, from Healthwatch Kirklees, explained that some people are advised to visit the dentist more frequently than they actually need to, and altering the length of time between appointments could enable more people to make use of dental services. The theory is that allocating appointments to those in need of treatment, rather than those who have perfectly healthy teeth and a very low risk of dental issues, could enable dentists to see more patients and to ensure that patients in pain get urgent access to services.

Representatives involved in the project are encouraging dental patients to discuss the frequency of check-ups with their dentist to ensure that patients who have good oral health continue to visit on a regular basis at the same time as making sure priority cases are dealt with swiftly.

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