NHS England has a legal duty to commission National Health Service primary care dental services to meet local needs. NHS England is responsible for ensuring that NHS primary dental services are accessible, and that they contribute to the prevention of dental disease, in addition to its treatment.
Access nationally remains high. 22.1 million adults saw an NHS dentist in the 24 months ending in 31 December 2017 and 6.9 million children in the 12 months ending in 31 December 2017. However, there are areas where there is further to go to ensure that all those who want to access NHS dental care can do so.
New ways of providing primary care dental services are being tested by the Department and NHS England which aims to further improve oral health and increase access to NHS dental services, by preventing as well as treating disease. Alongside this, is NHS England’s Starting Well programme, which aims to improve access to dental services for children known to be at greater risk of dental disease and who are not currently being seen by a dentist.