Paediatric Dentistry’s 'postcode lottery'
8 November 2019
A survey of dental general anaesthetic (DGA) services across the UK has suggested that not all children have access to the best type of care.
The number of children admitted to hospital for dental caries continues to rise year-on-year, with restorative treatment provided under general anaesthesia often more durable than that provided under local anaesthetic or sedation.
However, within the areas surveyed there was significant variation in the type of treatment available and the availability of specialists or consultants.
Survey lead Dr Helen Sanders* said: “Currently there are two types of DGA care commonly provided: extraction only and comprehensive care.
“To receive the best treatment it is essential that children have access to the comprehensive care type – under specialist supervision.
“Although we weren’t able to collect data for all areas, what we did collect suggests that this is only available in 73% of the country.
“This means that in other areas, treatment planning will not be by need but by availability of the service. This unacceptable ‘postcode lottery’ sees some children disadvantaged by the area in which they live.”
In an opinion piece in the British Dental Journal the authors recommend the following:
- Development of a national database of paediatric DGA services;
- Introduction of regional pathways for all children attending paediatric DGA;
- An increase in the number of available specialists and consultants.
*Dr Sanders carried out the survey as a postgraduate on our Paediatric Dentistry MSc programme. Find out more