Thank you for contacting me about access to NHS dental services.
The Government has made clear that improving access to NHS dentistry will be one of the key priorities for the health service over the coming months.
Waiting times have been affected by the pandemic and the degree of infection control measures that were required to keep services going during the pandemic.
Despite these pressures, dental services in many parts of England have been recovering. NHS England has set out its expectation that dental practices return to delivering treatment at pre-pandemic levels.
I also recognise that many patients face additional challenges in accessing NHS dentists. At the start of 2022, the Government provided £50 million funding across England to support the delivery of 350,000 additional dental appointments. This funding was targeted towards urgent care, with children, people with learning disabilities, autism or severe mental health problems prioritised.
Over several months, the Government has been working with the dental profession to further reduce barriers to patients accessing NHS dentists.
This includes changing the way dentists are paid for treatments like root canal, improving communication with patients and making it easier to recruit overseas dentists.
These reforms will allow the best performing dental practices to see more patients and ensure better use of other dental professionals such as dental therapists, hygienists and nurses. Changes will also see dentists rewarded more fairly for complex care.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.