Private Dentist or an Nhs Dentist – What are the Real Differences?
If you read newspapers on a regular basis, you will not have failed to notice the frequent articles on the growing problems being encountered in the area of dentistry for the British public. You may also have noticed that more and more people seem to be opting for private dentistry. There is a widespread belief that NHS dentistry is failing its dentists and its patients. Indeed, in December 2008, Alan Johnson, the Secretary of State for Health, announced that the Department of Health has commissioned an independent review of NHS dentistry.
The independent review is designed to report on, and make recommendations to tackle, the considerable problems that are being faced by those who make use of and wish to make use of the current NHS dentistry service. It has been welcomed by the likes of the British Dental Association, who see the move as a step in the right direction that has been a long time coming.
One of the main problems facing NHS dentistry is that more and more people are finding it increasingly difficult to find a dentist they can visit who is prepared to take them on and is a part of the NHS (and therefore recommended by the government’s Department of Health). A report in June 2008 highlighted this when it showed that fewer people had seen an NHS dentist in the two years prior to the report than had been seen in the two years prior to the start of the report despite reforms introduced by the government in April 2006. The figures show that in the period covered by the report less than half the adult population of the UK went to see an NHS dentist.
So, at this point, perhaps you will be thinking the same question as many; if the government will admit that NHS dentistry is in a poor state of affairs, what is the alternative and is it any better? Well, happily, the answer is that the alternative can be much better but it comes at a price. A proportion of the adult population in the UK that did not go to see an NHS dentist instead opted for the alternative: private dentistry.
There are a number of things that you will receive from a private dentist that you are unlikely to get from the NHS. Often there are shorter waiting times, and reduced hassle in other areas (particularly regarding emergency treatment), but a crucial difference is that a private dentist will frequently offer additional treatments to those you can receive from the NHS.
From the NHS, you will generally get the following treatments: an examination and assessment; x-rays; non-surgical treatment like scaling, polishing, gum treatments, marginal fillings, and oral hygiene instruction; surgical treatments such as wisdom tooth removal; fillings; root canal fillings; and other treatments including bridges, veneers, crowns, inlays, dentures and disease management. However, a private dentist will often offer a wide range of treatments that the NHS does not. One particular area in which private dental treatment has an advantage is that of cosmetic dentistry. There are other specialist treatments that private dentistry offers on a more regular basis, also. An instance of this would be the treatment that allows you to have white fillings on your back teeth. This is something that is usually not available on the NHS.
Ultimately, it pays to do your research. Different areas of the UK have different standards and volumes of NHS practices and a private dentist will come at slightly higher cost. It is a cost, however, that more and more people are willing to pay because of the out weighing benefits of better health care.
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