Dr Sara Hurley, England’s chief dental officer, has advised patients to question dentists who dictate that everyone should attend a check-up every six months. Current guidelines state that the waiting times between check-ups should very much depend on the dental health of individuals, rather than a blanket rule for everyone. A patient with good dental health could go up to two years without needing a visit, however, the recommended time is around one year.
Earlier in the week, Dr Hurley likened dental practitioners to mechanics, and said that patients should not feel that they need to ‘blindly adhere’ to a dentist’s request for frequent check-up appointments. She also suggested that patients should be less trusting of dentists who make these demands.
In an investigation last year, it emerged that the highest earning dentists in the industry brought home, on average, near to £700,000 annually. Roy Lilley, the former NHS trust chairman, spoke out at the recent NHS Expo conference, that was held in Manchester, saying that, “Dentistry has become a rich man’s hobby. It has gone off the high street into lavish surroundings.” Dr Hurley responded at the conference by saying that unnecessary repeat visits were due to the misconception that check-ups should be done every six months, and that some dentists were not adhering to these guidelines.