Letter: Too few dentists

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The Independent Culture
Letter:

Too few dentists

Sir: The letter by Mr Hunt (18 June) is timely. With a 12 per cent decrease in the number of applications for places in dental schools, a trend that has been continuing in the UK for some time, the calibre of consultants in dentistry in the NHS will also suffer in years to come.

Dentistry takes up only approximately 5 per cent of NHS expenditure, but the number of working days lost due to dental disease and treatment in the UK is disproportionately high.

Dentistry, unfortunately, does not have a glamorous image - who has ever seen a soap opera about dentists? - and does not have the attraction of medicine. The loss of many gifted young people will have a deadening effect on the profession in the future. It is time that the British Dental Association and other bodies promoted dentistry as an attractive career.

NIALL McGUINNESS

Consultant Orthodontist

Galway, Ireland

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