PATIENTS have waited more than three years for hospital dental treatment on the NHS in some parts of Scotland, according to new figures.

Statistics on waiting times disclosed through freedom of information reveal that one patient from NHS Borders who underwent an inpatient or day case dental procedure in 2022 had been on the waiting list for 146 weeks - around two years and 10 months - by the time their treatment took place.

This compared to a longest wait of 67 weeks in 2019, which recorded in the NHS Tayside region.

READ MORE: Statistics mask the reality of a shrinking NHS dental service 

For specialist dental treatment at an outpatient clinic, NHS Lothian had recorded the longest single waiting time in 2022 with one patient treated in region after spending 169 weeks - roughly three years and four months - on a waiting list.

Patients can be referred to hospital for complex dental healthcare which cannot be provided at high street practices.

This can include oral and maxillofacial surgery, such as removing a wisdom tooth or repairing jaw injuries, or children who require multiple tooth extractions under general anaesthetic.

The public dental service, based at sites such the Glasgow Dental Hospital, also provides appointment-based emergency treatment and general dental services on the NHS for people who are not registered with a dental practice.

READ MORE: Basic treatments like denture repairs 'no longer affordable on NHS'

Across Scotland, the statistics - obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats - show that at least 11 health boards treated patients in 2022 who had been waiting over a year for inpatient/day case procedures compared to only three in 2019.

Nearly all health boards have seen their average waiting time increase. This was most pronounced in NHS Lanarkshire, where the average waiting time for inpatient or day case treatment through the Public Dental Service was 41 weeks last year compared to four weeks in 2019.

Scottish LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton accused the NHS of “abandoning NHS dentistry”.

“These figures show that over the past four years, long waits have soared,” he said. “Scots are being left in pain.”

READ MORE: 'Exploitable' fee model encouraged practices to 'cash in', say dental leaders 

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said backlogs had been “exacerbated by the pandemic”, but added:“No one in Scotland will be left in pain when waiting for dental treatment – hospitals triage patients and see them as quickly as they can as appropriate to their need.

"Dentistry is an important part of our recovery plan and we’re working with boards to address the backlog created by the pandemic, both in dental practices and hospitals.”