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Carlyle Group eyes major business opportunity helping the UK improve its lousy dental reputation

Laura Donovan Contributor
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Apparently Britons having notoriously bad teeth is more than just a punch line, it is a major business opportunity.

The Carlyle Group, which is a D.C.-based venture capital firm, will purchase Integrated Dental Holdings from Bank of America Merrill Lynch Capital Partners, according to Washington Business Journal.

Financial terms have not been provided, but Carlyle is slated to team up with Capital Partners, merging Integrated Dental with Palamon’s Associated Dental Practices. Put together, the two dental networks will have 450 practices across the U.K. and reach 3.5 million patients.

Carlyle will have a majority of the combined company.

The Carlyle Group is investing in U.K. dentistry at a time when the British are known for having crooked, stained and poorly managed teeth — and for reasons that may not be their fault. Britons have struggled to acquire dentist appointments in recent years.

According to a 2008 Mori for the Citizens Advice Bureau survey, seven and a half million Britons failed to gain access to a National Health System dentist over a two year period. A 2009 British Dental Journal study found that 30,000 kids per year visit the hospital for emergency dental treatments as a result of tooth decay. That same year, the Telegraph reported that people even used pliers to yank out their faulty pearly whites due to a lack of available dentist appointments.

Laura Donovan