female dentist checking patient girl
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2021 to 2022 saw an almost 10% drop in NHS dentist visits across England, due to COVID-19 restrictions and a lack of patient access

As fewer NHS dentists were taking on new patients during COVID-19, 2021 to 2022 saw a decline in those gaining access to dentist appointments and practices taking on new patients.

Around 16.4m adults in England were seen for NHS dental treatment in the 24 months up to June 2022, according to NHS Dental Statistics 2021-22 – which is a reduction of 9.5% compared to the 24 months up to June 2021, when 18.1m adults were seen.

Dental practices were instructed to close for routine care and provide only urgent treatment on March 25, 2020, due to COVID, so practises saw a reduction of 25.3% compared to the 24 months up to June 2019, when 22 million adults were seen by NHS dentists.

Almost 90% of practices in England have stopped taking on any new adult patients in 2022

The report showed that amongst those who were able to attain appoinments, 5.6 million children were seen in the 12 months up to June 2022. This is an increase of 42.1% compared to the 12 months up to June 2021 when 3.9 million were seen.

When comparing against the 12 months up to June 2019, the report shows a decrease of 20.2%, with 7.0 million children seen.

However, this is an increase of up to 120% compared to the number delivered in 2020-21, which was 12 million, but it is a decrease of 33.6% compared with the number delivered in 2018-19, which was 39.7 million people.

Urgent courses of treatment went up

Luckily, 3.8m urgent courses of treatment were delivered in 2021-22, which is an increase of 5.7% when compared to 2020-21.

Additionally, this was an increase of 4.5% compared with the number delivered in 2018-19, at 3.6 million.

The report contains information about dental activity including patients treated by NHS dentists and the number of patients seen within the maximum recommended gap between appointments.

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