New statistics show tooth extraction number one hospital procedure for 5-9 year olds
09 Nov 2016
Tooth extraction remains the number one procedure carried out on children aged 5-9 in hospitals according to data published by NHS Digital today. There has however been a small decrease in the number of procedures. The Royal College of Surgeons’ analysis of Hospital Admitted Patient Care Activity for 2015/16 shows there were 24,945 operations to extract teeth on 5-9 year olds, compared with 25,338 in 2014/15.
The majority of these were multiple tooth extractions. The next most common procedure for 5-9 year olds is tonsillectomy, with 12,275 carried out in hospitals in 2015/16.
The data also shows there were 9,220 tooth extractions performed on 1-4 years olds in hospitals in 2015/16 - down from 9,613 in 2014/15. Extraction of teeth in young children frequently involves a general anaesthetic.
Commenting on the number of tooth extractions, Professor Nigel Hunt, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at The Royal College of Surgeons, said:
“We should be ashamed of the state of our children’s oral health. New figures published today show tooth extraction, which is most commonly needed due to tooth decay, still remains the number one procedure carried out on 5-9 year olds in hospital, with nearly 25,000 tooth extractions in 2015/16.
“Though there has been a small decrease in tooth extractions, the number is still excessively high - especially when coupled with the 179,000 teeth that were extracted from 0-9 year olds in dental practices last year”.
“Ninety percent of tooth decay is preventable through regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste, reducing sugar consumption and routine dental visits, yet 42% of children did not see a dentist in 2015-2016. What makes this number even more alarming is that NHS dental treatment is free for under-18s.
“When children visit the dentist regularly, problems are picked up more quickly and the need for treatment in hospitals can be avoided. The Government must put weight into a public health campaign that gets this message across to parents and carers. It is unacceptable that families should endure the pain and stress of a hospital admission as well as time off school and work for a problem that can be prevented with proper care.”
NHS England Chief Executive, Simon Stevens, has also unveiled plans today to ask NHS staff and the public whether there should be a tax imposed or outright ban on sugary drinks sold in hospitals. Commenting on the plans, Professor Hunt said:
“We welcome NHS England’s announcement today that it is considering a ban on sugary drinks in hospitals. Today’s statistics show the NHS needs to set an urgent example that high sugary drinks and food damage your teeth and your health.”
Notes to editors
1. Hospital Admitted Patient Care Activity, 2015-16 [NS] published by NHS Digital
- A diagnosis of “dental caries” is coded as K02 in the primary diagnosis (3 character) dataset.
- “Simple extraction of a tooth” is coded as F10 in the main procedures and interventions (3 character) dataset. The 4 character dataset makes clear that the majority of this category is for multiple extractions of teeth.
2. The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling dentists and specialists to provide patients with the highest possible standards of practice and care.
3. The Faculty of Dental Surgery’s report ‘The state of children’s oral health in England’
4. For more information, please contact the RCS Press Office: