Thousands of Patients Consult GPs Regarding Dental Issues

A new study by the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP) shows that hundreds of thousands of patients are wrongly going to their GP requiring dental advice or work each year.

Around 380,000 dental consultations occur at GP practices each year. The aim of the study was to discover why patients consult their GP rather than attending the dentist when experiencing teeth or gum problems.

This involved interviewing adults who consulted a UK GP with a dental problem in the previous year, recruiting participants via print and social media, online adverts, the Welsh national population research cohort and word of mouth. 39 interviews were conducted.

The BJGP found that the patients’ decision to visit their GP was influenced by various factors: their interpretation of their symptoms, perception of the scope of what GPs offer, the comparative ease of booking and navigating medical appointments compared with dental ones, anxiety around dental care and ability or willingness to pay for dental care.

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