Nine out of ten dental patients would recommend their dentist, says survey

A survey of 7,422 members of Which? the UK consumer champion, yielded positive results for dentistry. The survey asked Which? members if they had seen an NHS or private dentist over the past three years and asked them to rate their experience. The majority of respondents (57%) were private patients and most were happy with the quality of treatment; nine out of ten said they would recommend their dentist.

When asked to score the dentist they had seen most recently, the Which? members awarded independent dentists an average satisfaction rate of 86%. The average satisfaction rates of patients attending a branch of one of the corporate chains was over 60%, ranging from 75% for Portman to 67% for Together Dental and Clyde Munro.

We welcome the findings, reported in the February issue of the Which? magazine, which bring a more balanced perspective of UK dentistry services. Of late, news reporting of dentistry has focused on NHS access issues, overlooking the great work undertaken in so many dental practices across the UK.

The Which? article is entitled ‘Disappearing dentists’, highlighting that a key driver for the survey was to get a picture of NHS dental provision. Other issues arising from the article:

  • The best score for value for money across all the dentists was three stars (out of five).
  • Among private patients there were complaints about a lack of price transparency ahead of treatment. (RBD recommends to clients that they and their team should be clear & confident about the prices that need to be charged & payment options available.)
  • Payment plans are a positive but Which? urges readers to read the T&Cs carefully
  • Access to an NHS dentist is still a major issue but there appears to be acceptance that NHS dentistry is in decline (although the survey was carried out prior to the announcement that more money was to be allocated to NHS dentistry)
  • Patients are encouraged by Which? to shop around for private treatment on cost

This survey shows how much work needs to go into educating the public about the differential between private and NHS dental services. All in all, this survey yields positive results which should help dentists who have no choice but to leave the NHS and it confirms our view that dentists should be relying heavily on internal marketing to grow their practices – encouraging their happy loyal patients to spread the word.