A recent YouGov Reports publication has revealed that the most prominent reason people do not visit the dentist is not fear or nervousness as traditionally accepted, but price.
The research conducted by YouGov Reports into dental plans shows that expense is the most popular reason cited for not having routine dental check-ups, followed by fear of what the cost may be. 46% of working UK adults (aged 16+) who do not have routine dental check-ups said that they are too expensive, while almost three in ten (29%) are worried that they may not be able to afford the treatment.
Indeed, although the majority (62%) of dental patients say that they are made aware of costs before undertaking treatment, the transparency of costs remains an issue for a notable number of respondents (27%) who feel they are not fully informed. Over half (53%) of working adults in the UK believe that routine dental check-ups should be made free to more people.
That is not to say that the fear of the dentist has been completely removed from our consciousness. Almost a quarter (24%) of working adults who do not have routine dental say that they are too nervous to attend. A fifth (19%) of the same group are concerned that the treatment will hurt and 14% say they worry that if they go more regularly the dentist will find even more problems. A further preoccupation is that 23% say they are unable to get an appointment with an NHS dentist where they live.
In terms of dental plans, again cost is a motivating factor in taking one out. 38% of dental plan owners joined their scheme to spread the costs of dental visits, while 37% did so for the reassurance they would be covered for dental work.
James McCoy, Research Director, YouGov reports commented on the report: ‘While it is still true that for many, a trip to the dentist is tantamount to their worst nightmare, YouGov research shows that cost is now the most practical barrier to attending a routine check-up.
The obvious implication is that many people may be avoiding the dentist and therefore missing more serious problems that would be picked up at a check-up, which would cause more pain and indeed cost, in the long run.’