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kannie

Dentists: NHS or private?

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We've recently moved to a small country town whose only dentist is private (he does see some children under the NHS). He is apparently very good. I understand there is an NHS dentist in the next town, however I've recently discovered that several (not rich) people I know have opted to go private for their dental care because they've found NHS dentists won't do much for significantly damaged teeth other than pull them out.

 

I don't know if the current NHS dental contracts preclude them from doing this or if it's just odd occurrences. We're not poor, and I would like to go local, but it does seem a bit odd to pay for something I could get on the NHS (which I do believe in and want to support). I've always gone NHS before, but then I've never needed much dental work.

 

Does anyone have knowledge about the limitations of NHS dental care right now, or experience of getting better / worse care privately?

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I have an NHS dentist... But haven't needed any proper treatment for years, just have a check up and a polish.

 

OHs dentist went private a few years back, and he took out a dental payment plan insurance thing.

 

OH tends to be able to get appointments... I have to wait AGES.... OH gets reminders when his check up is due.... I have to diarise for mine, as if you don't go for 12 months you get struck off the NHS list :shock:

 

I believe there should be more NHS dentists, it should be all part of the service.

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I changed to private when I chipped a filled tooth a couple of years ago, when DH did the same the NHS dentist filed his tooth down :shock: Privately for £60 I got my tooth built back up with composite :D So I changed to private figuring that he'll help me to keep my teeth, as if I lose them I won't need a dentist :lol:

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I have always had NHS dentists, and I've had loads of work done - and in my experience, if they think that you could get a better result (e.g. better materials for a crown) done privately, they will say so and offer you the option. I paid for a dental implant a couple of years ago because that wouldn't have been available on the NHS. I haven't needed any other substantial work in the past few years however.

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I would say private. My friend is a dentist and her practice became private several years ago after many years in the NHS. They never thought they would stop offering NHS treatment, but the times they had to work to for each appointment, e.g. 5 mins for a check up/filling, made it (in their eyes) impossible to offer any kind of quality dental treatment.

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My son went to an NHS dentist who said that son needed 3 fillings; therefore it was NHS policy to just take the milk teeth out so I took him to the private guy down the road who said, no let them stay until they become an issue. We are all registered with him & he is fantastic! Recently I clean forgot about a family appointment & rang the moment I realised my mistake. They were fine about it, if it had been NHS then I would have been fined £50 for each missed appointment :(

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When we came here nearly 20 years ago the only dentist in the village was private (there was one other and I don't know what he was as he was retiring anyway) so we still travelled back to our previous dentist because he was lovely and NHS. He retired a couple of years later so we felt we had to register with the local private one. Have to say they have been excellent and extremely thorough.

 

I have watched the NHS dentists "play" with my dad's teeth and fob him off all the time - he ended up waiting for a hospital appointment that never materialised. Not an issue as he's gone now.

 

Recently an NHS dentist opened up opposite. Now that my mum lives nearby she has registered with them and all I can think of is how my dad was treated. I did take my mum to the hospital to have a tooth removed though. My son's girlfriend went to them and was told that she had to have teeth out at the hospital as they were crumbling - other than that they did nothing. She never did get a hospital appointment and she registered there long before my mum. Now DS and girlfriend no longer live here and she's still in pain.

 

OH and I discussed whether to move back to the NHS and we have opted to stay private.

 

With regard to orthidontists - have found both NHS and private sadly lacking and wanting to do things to teeth that didn't need any treatment. With the NHS ortho we went for my son's bottom teeth which were crooked and he ended up having braces on his top set of teeth which surprised our dentist somewhat. With DD it was private and very costly and the ortho wanted to make her jaw push forward - she would have looked like a bulldog if she had that done. The only reason for going was to close the gap in between her two top front teeth, so the extra work was excessive.

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I think the issue is that so many NHS dentists have changed to private and the NHS ones are now just out of university without the experience. At least that is my experience locally.

 

I went NHS when my lovely dentist who had gone private left. So I went to NHS and I had a tooth extracted but she couldn't get it all out and I had to wait over 4 months to have rest of tooth out. Then the next one booked me for do some work but it turned out she was planning something different to what she said. So now back with a mature private dentist - swoon :oops: trouble is my teeth don't need much treatment. :lol:

 

I'd say go with word of mouth (sorry) locally. :D

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Just as a twist, our local NHS dentist practice is great.

 

We get reminders for apointments, it is pretty easy to get an appointment, they more or less see you on time as well.

 

My OH's teeth are terrible, and his old private dentist was able to retire on the work he did on his teeth. Have to say though, since changing to local NHS dentist, his teeth seem far better - could be coincidence I admit.

 

I think it depends on the dentist themselves, and their individual reputation.

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My children go to a private dentist who sees children on the NHS. He was my dentist before he went private and is an excellent dentist. I registered with a new NHS dentist who misdiagnosed a tooth root abscess despite me asking repeatedly if it was an abscess. He treated me by filing down a perfectly good crown which whist took the pressure off the abscess, of course didn't cure it. He eventually decided that it was an abscess and said that my only option was to have the tooth removed. I ended up going to a private dentist and paying approx £1.000 for root canal and £450 to get the ruined crown replaced. I would not go to a dentist who only sees NHS patients again. Those that treat both I am sure are fine, but my impression is that NHS dentists tend to remove rather than repair as it is the cheaper option.

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Thanks for all this, everyone. Yes my thought is that its the 'remove rather than repair' brigade I want to avoid. But I guess the thing about 'do they do private as well as NHS' is a good thing to look out for. And maybe why do they do NHS: is it because they're new or is it for ethical reasons? Personal recommendation is obviously important.

 

The other thing is the price of private treatment, if I decided to go that way. I haven't looked into dental plans, but assume it's like any other insurance policy, and therefore a gamble as to whether you end up paying more or not. Presumably some schemes are better than others? Luckily we both have pretty good teeth, but I'd like to keep it that way: health and teeth are pretty high up my list of things worth keeping good!

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My children's dentist who was mine before they went private does a dental plan. It gives treatment at a reduced rate and weighing everything up it works out pretty expensive. I suppose you have to weigh it up against the state of your teeth :)

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I think it depends on the dentist. Clearly there must be cost/ time pressure on NHS dentists, however, I had some awful work done a few years ago by a private dentist (had been a small local practise, but bought out by a big company solely motivated by profits) where they cracked a perfectly good tooth and now I have a very good NHS dentist who remind you about check-ups etc - my OH had a crown replaced there for the max fee of £125 and is very happy with it - way cheaper than private dentists.

I guess all I would say is to ask around friends and neighbours - there are good and bad of both out there.

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Tough call!!!

When I moved house about 11 years ago, I had to register with a private dentist as there was NO hope of registering with an NHS one. It is hugely expensive (and I'm not entirely sure they don't charge different sums depending on the job title you give on your registration application :? as their fees seem to vary hugely). All of that said, I had raging toothache about six weeks ago and long story short, I was booked in for root canal treatment (estimate for which was £450). The dentist did say she wanted to talk to me again about it before we went ahead and she duly 'phoned me a few days before the appointment to see how things were. As the "tests" she had done were not 100% conclusive and the horrendous pain i had been in had gone completely, at her suggestion, we cancelled the appointment on a "wait and see" basis. I was very impressed, I'd committed to the cost of the treatment and it was the dentist who felt that as she couldn't say 100% that it was necessary we shouldn't go ahead. i know the problem might reoccur, and if it does, obviously I will need the treatment, but i was pleased the dentist was prepared to suggest the wait and see approach rather than launching in to expensive treatment.

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Mr W and I are with a private dentist ( but they also do NHS - my Mum goes to the same surgery) and my dentist is lovely ( and so were the previous two at the same surgery).

 

We have one of the pay monthly plans and I know under the plan I can be seen almost straight away and all the treatment is covered ( I pay the extra supplement which includes 4 trips to the hygienist a year).

 

They were also very good with LMW who was NHS at the same surgery ( she has now changed to the dentist at her school - they have an on site dental surgery!).One of the first things they did when we joined the surgery was to seal all LMW back teeth - the dentist at our previous surgery said it wasn't necessary ( he wasn't a very nice dentist and LMW hated him- he was a complete rip -off type).

 

As for orthodentists, we are extremely lucky to have a NHS surgery just 5 minutes cycle form home and the 'main man' is the consultant at the hospital - he spent ages explaining to LMW exactly what work she needs doing and had little models to help explain what he would be doing. He was quite happy to answer all her questions - now matter how daft they may have been. LMW is having her brace fitted in a few weeks ( it's only on the lower teeth).

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