Children in pain waiting half a year for dental operations up 50%, labour warns


Dentistry professionals have highlighted the challenge of an observed exponential increase in children remaining in pain for six months or more for surgery to cure serious dental complications, surge 50 percent in the past two years.

Data from the Labour demonstrated the pressures on NHS waiting lists are worsened by an avertable crisis of tooth decay from sugar intake and a lack in promoting good oral hygiene. According to the British Dental Association (BDA), children in poorer regions are affected more and pointed out that the expanding waiting lists are another illustration of the government’s failure to resolve this entire preventable condition.

Statistics demonstrated that the number of under-18s put on hold for dental surgery which requires general anaesthetic has increased 15 percent in two years, with a total of 13,548 on the list in 2017.

However, the strain across the NHS means alot more young people will have to wait for a longer period before receiving treatment. The number of children who waited more than six months had increased to 1,498 by 2017.

Patients at Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, has the longest waiting list in the country. Children had waited 253 days for treatment after a referral from their dentist.

Professor Michael Escudier, dean of the Royal College of Surgeons’ dental faculty pointed out that this issue is a raising concern and displayed the importance of making certain that all children have timely access to dental services whenever needed.

Dental operations to remove decaying teeth are one of the most common surgical procedures and most are avertible cases. In addition, Prof Escudier mentioned that one of the methods to resolve the issue is to reduce the number of children having tooth decay.

Labour has also records of people who are unable to afford dental treatment, hence turning to DIY tooth extraction kits; thereby reflecting a neglect in the health services. While the government has implemented a sugar tax on soft drinks, it still fail to enforce such a levy on sugary foods and exclude equally sugary milkshake drinks.

Unlike Wales and Scotland England, Britain does not have a committed programme to encourage oral health to children in schools and nursery. The extensive oral health inequalities witnessed between the rich and poor can in fact be avoided.

Source: The Independent

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