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"It's at a crisis point now; it's going to get worse," the co-owner of Corner House dental practice says. UK Dental Crisis.

Many people continue to use Victorian-era methods to extract their teeth because they cannot afford the high cost of private dental care.

Dr. Perera is the co-owner of Corner House dental practice, which provides care to 6,000 patients. He gave a perspective on the challenges dentists must go through and what can be changed in dealing with the crisis.

Corner House has 85% NHS-funded patients and 15% private patients among its dental practice patients. This is common for many dental practices; many take both NHS and privately funded patients.

According to Dr. Perera, private fees are subject to the practice. However, NHS fees are set by the government and divided into three bands.

"If we took new NHS patients, we would lose money, as we are paid by the band system." Dr. Perera says.

He says they would be charged one fee despite the job being more time-consuming. It is set at a fixed rate.

"There is a lack of access for new NHS patients, predominantly because of the backlog after the pandemic."

Dr. Perera says that many have retired early. There is a "target culture" in the contract that the government has placed where dental practices have to meet a particular target, and if it is not completed, they will take away the money.

"It is worse than the commission."

This is causing dentists to be concerned about meeting those targets and be hesitant to accept more NHS-funded patients.

Dr Perera said that the government has been implementing pilot schemes for the last ten years and is formulating a contract involving prevention care that is "cost-effective in the long term."

But the government decided not to go ahead due to the plan's cost.

"There has been a chronic underfunding of dentistry over many years. Different political parties and opposition parties have neglected NHS Dentistry. The funding hasn't kept up with inflation."


To combat this crisis, Dr Perera says, "There needs to be more funding and a political will to back NHS dentistry." He says the government needs to make a "courageous decision" to fund NHS dentistry properly or to supply treatment to low-income people and for those who can afford to pay should pay privately. 

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