Are we going to end up with a lot of people having their teeth removed because they’ve rotted? Private practices seem to be going the American way – or rather the celebrity route – with whitening and perfect straight teeth the goal, but at a phenomenal price. For some years it has been difficult to find an NHS dentist, so many of us have had to resort to private practices, although some do both private and NHS work.
The discrepancy in prices is quite incredible, and an Office of Fair Trading report has just highlighted how many dentists won’t do some treatments (such as bridges) on the NHS, forcing patients to pay privately.
Without intending to do research I had some personal experiences – one person in my family was provided with an estimate for £761.00 including several extractions right at the front of his mouth. He found an NHS dentist online and paid them a visit – he ended up paying less than £100 to get relief from his toothache, and was advised that he might need one extraction (not four).
Trying to get an appointment for myself I found that my dentist was no longer answering the phone – the upshot of this was that he had skipped the country. I was happy with my dentist – he had removed all my amalgam fillings, which I believe has made me healthier. I thought I’d try a new dentist and was shocked (a) to have to pay £86.90 for a check up and two (small) X-rays, and (b) to be told I needed to see a hygienist at £91.80.
Needless to say I decided not to go back and swapped to the afore-mentioned NHS dentist. The check-up cost £17.50 including X-rays, the hygienist costs £32. To have a white filling I would have to pay privately as the NHS still only provides amalgam fillings (this is a whole other subject – see the article Mouthful of Mercury).
The moral of the story is don’t put up with ridiculous prices – shop around and yes there seem to be more NHS dentists out there.