Patients in Lothian face six-month wait to see an NHS dentist

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Patients in Lothian and Edinburgh are facing a six-month wait to see an NHS dentist as teams prioritise those with urgent needs.
Residents who have a regular dentist may need to wait up to 6 months to get an appointment but there are fears that those who don’t have an NHS practice could be waiting even longer. At present, most practices are not accepting new adult NHS patients and those who are looking for a dentist are being advised to join a waiting list.
Statistics from Public Health Scotland suggest that the number of courses of treatment delivered by dental teams between April and November 2020 was over 80% lower than the same period in 2019.
Livingston resident, Lawrence Titley, said that his “jaw hit the floor” when he was told that he would have to wait for six months to have new fillings placed after managing to get an appointment for a check-up in February this year. Many other locals have taken to social media to share similar stories.
Dental access is an issue right across the UK, with the demand for treatment far outweighing the supply. The initial lockdown, when practices were closed for several weeks, created substantial backlogs, and clinics have been running at a reduced capacity since, meaning that patients are facing lengthy waits. While there are still restrictions in place, most practices are prioritising patients who need urgent care, and this means that there is a substantial wait for routine services.

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