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Projected service use

Adults :: Dental health in adults :: Projected service use

Although oral health of adults is improving, there remain social and geographical inequalities in its distribution. Due to falling disease patterns and growing reluctance to have extractions and dentures, people are keeping their teeth longer. This may mean that there are more teeth at risk of decay and large numbers of heavily restored teeth which need expensive long term maintenance by dental services.

In the report NHS Dental Services in England (2009)[1], Steele recognises the difficulty accessing an NHS dentist is a localised issue, but where it exists it is severe. Improving future capacity is a priority, but this alone will not lead to improved access. Empowering patients with information on how to access dental services through social marketing and ensuring the services are of a high quality are also essential.

Population projections in Kent and Medway suggest dramatic increase in the elderly population. By 2020, 21% of the local population will be over 65 years, which suggests a high service need for dental care for this age group, and very likely a need for more complex maintenance care because of replacement of existing restorative work. There will be an increase in patients who are housebound or in residential care, meaning an increased need for domiciliary dental services.


[1]   Steele J. An independent review of NHS dental services in England 2009; Department of Health. .