YP Letters: Lack of basic dental knowledge contributes to decay issue

From: Andy Hicks, Station Road, Burley-in-Wharfedale.

What can be done to improve NHS dentistry?
What can be done to improve NHS dentistry?

REGARDING your articles on dental decay (The Yorkshire Post, March 17) and subsequent correspondence.

What is really surprising is the fact that in 1975 we had 20,000 registered dentists. We now have 46,000 and things have got worse. There are many reasons for this, the main problem being the lack of basic knowledge passed from parents to children which is causing problems in many aspects of life today. The amount of sugar available in many forms and the culture of feeding regularly throughout the day. After an intake of sugar, it takes 20 minutes for the mouth to return to a non-decaying environment. Also back in 1975 dentists were well paid and, contrary to what TV programmes of the time would have you believe, most dentists provided treatments which they were not allowed to provide on the NHS, for no extra charge.

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However, that is not the case today. In a radio programme, I heard that many young dentists are disappointed at the amount of non-clinical work they are required to do and their rates of pay. I feel very sorry for them.

Six years ago (five at university and one vocational training) they could not have known that average dental pay would fall by 35 per cent in the next five years, although they might have had a hint of the workload which began to increase eight years ago.

Your article mentions that the pay for one filling is the same as for 10. One can only marvel at the saintly nature of our dentists who, after finding a cavity, continue checking the mouth for further decay, knowing that any that they find will be time consuming to treat and will pay them no money. Most dentists would like to treat children, as the risk of having to provide expensive work is low, but child-only NHS contracts are only allowed if they were in place in 2006 when this farcical contract was introduced.

From: Andrew Mercer, Guiseley.

THE concerns over dental contracts show what happens when decision-making is left to those with little or no experience in the sphere of policy concerned.

I wonder how many Health Ministers in the past decade have ever worked in dentistry.

From: Henry Cobden, Ilkley.

WE should only consider raising taxes to pay for the National Health Service when there has been a thorough overhaul of inefficient managers. Do others agree?