The General Dental Council (GDC) has published the results of its 2018/19 Patient and Public Survey, which used qualitative and quantitative data to examine public attitudes on a range of issues relating to dentistry and how it is regulated.
For example, most respondents believed dentistry should focus more on preventing problems, with 65% preferring a balanced approach to prevention and treatment, 22% prioritizing prevention, and 7% saying dentistry should take action once there are serious complaints.
“If you’re having to take action, it’s already gone too far,” said one respondent. “If you can prevent it from happening, then that’s the best outcome for everybody.”
Also, 73% said they were confident that the GDC was effectively regulating dental professionals. Those who weren’t confident primarily said that they didn’t know dentists were regulated or that they had a bad personal experience with dental care.
Only 64% of respondents from black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds said they were confident that the GDC was regulating effectively, compared to 74% of those respondents from white backgrounds. The GDC says it is considering further research into this disparity.
And when it comes to treatment costs, 39% either strongly agreed or tended to agree that they expected more from dentists than other healthcare professionals because they pay for treatment.
Satisfaction with dentistry has remained between 95% and 97% since 2013, though there has been some variation of experience between demographic groups, particularly by age and social grade.
Plus, general confidence in the last dental professional that patients saw was 95%, with positive responses driven by whether the problem was resolved (36%), the standard of care (34%), and politeness (33%).