A key challenge presented by the Covid-19 pandemic is the accessibility of NHS dental services, particularly for those who have moved to a new area during the pandemic. The first lockdown, during which most dental services were closed down has resulted in an enormous backlog of patients needing dental treatment. Those who have not moved to a different area of the country are the lucky ones because, though waiting times for an appointment may be longer than usual, they have the possibility of booking an appointment. However, those who have moved to a different county may have experienced a situation where all dental surgeries within a 30-minute drive are not accepting new patients, with some waiting lists up to a year. The amount of damage that could be done in a year of waiting for dental treatment can have life-long impacts. The only available solution for non-emergencies currently is to instead seek dental treatment privately, which is a luxury that many cannot afford. The consequences from this are a vicious cycle – waiting a year for treatment of a non-emergency such as a filling will likely amplify the damage to the teeth resulting in a need for future treatment (which all comes at a cost despite NHS subsidy), which could be even more expensive if the disease or damage spreads or develops into something worse requiring root canal treatment or tooth removal. Thinking bigger, this will make it more difficult to move up to a level of wealth where the option of private treatment is even feasible. Why should people who cannot afford private treatment be penalised for moving house during this pandemic? This is a seemingly small consequence of the pandemic that does not seem to have been addressed, and one which could have significant impacts for years to
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