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Volume 931: debated on Wednesday 4 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of dental service expenditure is currently channelled into preventive treatment.

If the hon. Member has in mind conservative treatment which prevents tooth loss, over 50 per cent. of the total cost of the National Health Service general dental services is attributable to periodontal and restorative treatment, including scaling and gum treatment, fillings and crowns. Comparable information is not available about the community dental services and the less direct forms of preventoin such as oral hygiene instruction.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is satisfied with the balance between preventive and curative treatment in the dental service.

The balance between various forms of treatment provided by dentists is generally determined by patients' clinical condition. Since I can never be fully satisfied while much remains to be done to improve the standard of the nation's dental health, I will continue to explore means of improvement, in consultation with the dental profession.