People in the UK are being forced to go to specialist treatment centres to receive dental treatment because of their weight.
Is there such a thing as being too big for the dentist? Can weight really affect how you can be treated by a dentist? In short, yes.
Obesity levels are soaring.
Unsurprisingly, obesity is on the rise. According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), in 2015, 27% of the population were obese as opposed to 15% in 1993. With fast food and unhealthy foods becoming cheaper and more accessible, our waistbands are increasing.
How does this effect your ability to receive dental treatment?
Dentists are having issues treating patients that are too big to treat safely in their practices.
Weight issues can be a sensitive topic for some patients – both male and female. Dentists, rightly, won’t want to draw attention to anything that could make a patient feel on edge or embarrassed.
However, an increasing number of dental professionals are contacting the Dental Defence Union about whether they can safely treat patients weighing more than 20 stone. This is the normal weight limit for many dental chairs. They are also often worried that if they do refuse to treat a patient in these circumstances that they may be accused of discrimination .
It is a really tricky situation to be in.
Some people find it hard enough to visit the dentist as it is, never mind being made to feel ashamed about their size. Patients with dental anxiety find it difficult to attend the dentist. To add the pressure about having their weight criticised, could make their dental anxiety worse.
Dental professionals are right to be concerned about the health and safety aspects of treating obese patients, as they have both a duty of care to all patients and a legal obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to operate in a safe environment.
If a dentist treats a patient, but the equipment is not safe enough to hold the weight of the patient, this could land both the dentist and the patient in bother.
Everyone should be able to access dental treatment.
However, everyone should be able to access dental care and dental treatment, irrespective of their size.
If a dentist believes that they cannot safely treat an obese patient, they have a duty of care to ensure that the patient can be seen elsewhere. This usually takes place in a special unit or in a hospital.
Register with a dentist.
If you need to register with a dentist, you can do so at www.defactodentists.com. Here, there are thousands of UK dentists ready and waiting to treat you. Whether it’s just a check-up or you’re looking for a specific treatment, our dentists are here to help. With a simple location search, you can find all of the best dentists near you. Read reviews from previous patients, and get to know the practice teams. Then, when you find the perfect dentist for you, get in touch with them. The contact details are provided on their Defacto page! The smile you want is achievable with Defacto Dentists.