When the NHS was established in 1948, dentistry consisted mostly of extractions and dentures. In the second half of the century it gradually evolved into a more restorative service, but moving into the 21st century we see it changing again. In late 2016 the government launched a consultation on the review of NHS general dental services. This is expected modernise the delivery of NHS dentistry by focusing more on diagnosis and prevention, the detection of oral cancer and the oral signs of systemic disease, rather than on the ‘drill and fill’ approach we have become used to. The outcome of this consultation is due in late 2017 and we will keep you posted.