Analysis of salary data on Prospects – UK’s official graduate careers website – revealed private dentists earn about 65% more than NHS dentists at the most and 23% more at the least.
This analysis, which was done by a UK-based provider of dental treatments, Longevita, compared the £140,000+ that can be earned “wholly” by private dental practitioners with a minimum salary of £84,559 and a maximum salary of £114,003 of consultants in dental specialities at NHS trust hospitals.
Over the years, NHS dentists have complained about the system not sufficiently rewarding quality or justifying the over £50,000 debt, as reported in the British Dental Journal, to complete or undertake specialist studies. Upon finishing a 5-year dentistry degree, one must complete 1-3 more years of Dental Foundation Training, followed by 3-5 more years of Speciality Training before becoming a dental consultant.
This also comes in light of the unprecedented strikes by consultants and hospital dental trainees in England following a pay dispute with Sunak’s government. According to the British Dental Association (BDA), real incomes for typical dentists have fallen by up to 40%. It decreased by 37% from £67,800 in 2008/9 to £42,847 in 2020/21, while the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration’s (DDRB) recommended pay rise was 6%.
The BDA reported that over 50% of dentists have already reduced their amount of NHS work since the pandemic started, and 74% of them plan to reduce or further reduce their commitment. With more and more dentists turning to private practice, there’s been a rise in the emergence of “dental deserts” throughout the country, with 90% of practices not accepting new patients, according to an investigation by the BDA and the BBC.
As a result, many people are now choosing dental tourism to have their teeth done abroad because it is cheaper. Turkey, in particular, has become a popular tourist destination, and one of the reasons is the low average salary of dentists. According to Kariyer.net – Turkey’s largest employment platform – the average salary of dentists there is just about 410,000₺ or £12,000 per year. Compared to private practices in the UK, that’s a difference of more than 1,000%, but that also makes Turkey more affordable to foreigners.
“We were curious to see exactly how much of a gulf there was between the salaries of private and NHS dentists. No matter what way you look at it, it’s the patients who end up suffering by either being on a very long waiting list or having to pay enormous private medical treatment fees,” a spokesperson at Longevita commented.