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​Our story: 50 years of dentistry

We are celebrating 50 years of the British Dental Association at Wimpole Street. The BDA moved into our current building in London on September 1966 and the premises were officially opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II in March 1967. 


Dentistry: then and now


Over the last 50 years, the BDA has been a driving force for change, and lobbied for improvements for dentists’ working lives, as well as fighting for improvements in oral health for their patients.

A dental surgery today looks completely different from the way it did in the 1960s and the tools and techniques dentists use are a world apart.

The latter part of the 20th century saw an explosion of new materials, techniques and technology along with a better understanding of dental disease and prevention.


The ongoing battle for oral health prevention

Today, the oral health of the UK is greatly improved compared to how it was in the 1960s, b​​ut the battle for real prevention for all has not yet been won.


We’ve known that sugar is a major problem for teeth since the 1950s, yet we are still campaigning for tighter controls on the promotion of sugary drinks and snacks to children, as well as the need for better coordinated public health campaigns across the sectors, including dentistry.

Tooth decay is a preventable disease, but the NHS spent £34m on extracting children’s teeth in 2013/14. 

We know that oral health inequalities remain a big problem across the UK, with rates of poor oral health the highest in the most deprived areas of the nation. In 2017, we think this is a shocking state of affairs.

We are campaigning for a new dental contract​ that puts prevention first and focuses on keeping us healthy, rather than trying to fix problems after they have occurred.

Dental techniques and innovation mean that much of dentistry today is pain-free, but many patients remain nervous or anxious about visiting their dentist regularly.

Campaigning for dentistry


We're highlighting the amazing work dentists do today, to help encourage patients to see that modern dentistry is a world away from previous decades, and realise the important role dentists play in safeguarding their oral health.

As the professional association for dentists, we strive to ensure our members’ careers are rewarding and adhere to the highest standards of practice.

We fight the profession’s corner over issues surrounding regulation, contract reform and the continued need for a prevention-based approach to oral health, to ensure everyone can have the best dental care possible.

​Get involved: interpreting dentistry past, present and future

To celebrate our 50 years, we are asking visitors to our office at 64 Wimpole Street in London to help interpret dentistry over the last five decades, using objects from our collection and people's experiences of working in dentistry, or of being a dental patient.

Visitors can write or draw their thoughts and intepretations of our key words on bunting cards and we'll display them in our foyer.

Add to our #selfie wall

You can also help us by showing what dentistry looks like today - we are asking for pictures of dentists working in their surgeries, which we will add to our archives, to help continue to tell the story of dentistry for future generations.​