Market intelligence: Dentists and dental care

September 20, 2013, 1:46 PM UTC

The UK market for dentistry and dental services has expanded during the course of the last decade, reaching an estimated £5.7 billion in 2012. While growth has slowed in recent years due to economic restrictions on private healthcare, the expansion of the corporate dentistry sector has been a growth factor, as has the fact that more people now regularly visit a dentist.

Public sector takes the lion’s share

Like many other sectors of the UK healthcare industry, the majority of consumer spending occurs in the public sector, although dentistry is one of the few areas of the health system which is not free at the point of use for most people. The NHS accounts for 60% of expenditure within the dental industry, and fewer than 10% of the UK’s dentists treat private patients only.

Most don’t fear the dentist

More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents say they have a dentist that they visit on a regular basis for routine check-ups, with 67% of these going at least once every six months.

Of those who visit a dentist regularly, 74% do so as NHS patients, while just over a quarter (28%) visit private dentists.

The majority (64%) of those who regularly go to the dentist typically spend less than 15 minutes per visit for a check-up, and 63% of patients say their regular check-up typically costs less than £50. A third (30%) of those who do not go for regular check-ups say it’s because dentists are too expensive.

Seven in 10 regular dental patients have had scale and polish treatment in the last two years, while just over half (52%) have had fillings.

One in 10 have had aesthetic dental treatments within the last couple of years, however 9% claim to be considering having aesthetic dental treatment done at some point in the future. The most common type of aesthetic dental work is extraction, followed by crown/bridgework and teeth whitening and/or bleaching. The majority of aesthetic dental treatments are priced somewhere between £100 and £1,500.

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