Treatments such as implants, veneers, crowns, and dentures are the most common subjects of inquiries to the Dental Helpline, a free hotline operated by the Oral Health Foundation (OHF) and staffed by fully trained oral health experts and dental nurses in the United Kingdom that provides information, advice, and support about oral health.
These questions make up 15% of the queries that the Dental Helpline has received over the past 12 months. In fact, telephone and email inquiries about treatments such as implants and veneers have increased by 33%, compared to a decade ago. OHF chief executive Dr. Nigel Carter, OBE, believes these statistics represent a change in attitudes toward oral health.
“For many of us, the appearance of our smile has taken a much greater priority over recent years. In the past, it would be quite common to leave a missing tooth. Now, we are searching for the alternatives to fill in the gaps,” said Carter.
“There is little doubt that as a population, we are becoming more in tune and aware of our options when it comes to cosmetic dentistry. There has also been a significant shift in how we view our relationship with our dentist. Rather than seeing ourselves as patients, we are increasingly more likely to identify as consumers,” said Carter.
“As these treatments can still be relatively expensive, we are more likely to research them. This has become easier with the rise of the internet. It is also why more are reaching out to services like the Dental Helpline,” Carter said. “As consumers, we want to feel reassured that the prices we are quoted are fair and that the treatments we are being advised to take are in our best interest.”
The cosmetic dentistry industry in the United Kingdom is valued at around £2.2 billion and is expected to increase by 8% through 2021, the OHF reports. In addition to the telephone queries, the OHF also has seen a 50% increase in traffic on its webpages about cosmetic procedures.
The Dental Helpline also receives queries about how to find a dentist, lodging complaints, and clarity over dental charges. Its website provides answers to frequently asked questions as well. Earlier this year, the Dental Helpline received its 400,000th call. All queries are confidential.
“To know what we have been able to support so many people is very special. The Dental Helpline will continue to be a friendly place for anybody looking for find practical and emotional support for their oral health,” said Carter.
“If you are in pain, or simply feel that you don’t have the right information to make an informed decision about the health of your mouth, please do get in touch,” said Carter.
The Dental Helpline can be reached at 01788 539780 or at dentalhealth.org/dentalhelpline.