Children’s dental emergencies: the postcode lottery of childhood oral health

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Objectives: Access to dental care has worsened dramatically in the UK. Portsmouth is the most densely populated city in the UK outside London and is been declared a ‘dental desert’ as a result of a declining number of dentists offering publicly funded treatment. Currently, there are only 42 dentists per 100,000 people in the city, leaving children from poorer families largely affected by the lack of access to treatment. Alarmingly, only 38.4% of children in Portsmouth have seen a dentist in the past year. Therefore, this study aims to explore trends in children’s dental emergency appointments due to pain in a state-funded primary dental care service in Portsmouth.

Methods: Descriptive cross-sectional analyses were conducted using anonymised electronic data of children’s dental appointments (0-17 years old) at the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy (UPDA) from 2018 to2022 (N=5860). Emergency appointments due to dental pain and dental referrals for general were geo-mapped according to postcode and Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD).

Results: Children’s emergency appointments due to pain at UPDA have nearly tripled since 2018. During2022, 24% of all emergency appointments due to pain were for children under 17 years old. Children living in disadvantaged areas were more likely of having dental pain with hotspots of referrals for general anaesthetics due to dental problems located in the most deprived neighbourhoods in the city. Substantial disparities in dental care access are evident in Portsmouth. Taking immediate action to protect vulnerable children should be a local and national priority.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2023
Event2023 IADR/LAR General Session & Exhibition with WCPD -, Bogotá, Colombia
Duration: 21 Jun 202324 Jun 2023


Conference2023 IADR/LAR General Session & Exhibition with WCPD

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