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NHS dentist numbers get the all-clear


Scotland’s increasing demand for NHS dental services is expected to be more than matched by an increase in the number of dentists, according to latest projections. 

While the aging population and people generally visiting the dentist more should increase demand over the next decade, this is expected to be outweighed by dentists entering or re-entering NHS practice. 

‘Dental Workforce in Scotland 2016’ is the latest in a series of biennial dental workforce reports that aim to inform workforce planning for dental services in Scotland. It has been supported by NHS Education for Scotland, NHS National Services Scotland and the Scottish Government 

The report examines past trends in the supply of dentists and DCPs to inform estimates of the supply of dental services. Estimates of the demand for dental services are informed by past trends in access to dental care. These past trends are used to inform forecasts of the supply of and demand for dentists and dental services in the future.

David Felix, Director of Dentistry at NHS Education for Scotland, said:

"We work with our partners to ensure that Scotland has the right numbers of dentists to deliver high-quality NHS treatment for everyone who wants it, in line with the Government’s 2020 Vision.

“These forecasts indicate that the capacity of the system to deliver dental services to the people of Scotland is greater than ever before and is forecast to increase in the future.”

Highlights of the report include:

  • NHSScotland registration rates continue to increase and in September 2015 were at record levels.
  • There is variation in the registration rate between NHS boards but the lowest registration rate was almost 75%.
  • People are visiting a dentist more frequently and are more likely to see an NHS dentist when they do. 


Reference: PR2016-017

Further Information From 

John MacEachen, Head of Communications,, NES tel. 07769 367632

Note to Editors

  1. NHS Education for Scotland (NES)  is a national special health board working to provide education, training and workforce development for those who work in and with NHS Scotland. Our aim is to provide excellence in health and care for the people of Scotland through high quality education, training and development.  
  2. The full report is available at: