When it comes to looking after the health of you and your family I suspect you consider this a priority, otherwise you would not be reading this blog. I am hoping to provide some clarification on the differences and similarities received in the care and treatment of NHS and Private Dental Patients. I hope this will empower you to make an informed decision on your care. We offer both NHS and private dental care at Billericay Dental Care and we believe this give us the maximum versatility and value.
For most Brits the NHS is our first port of call. It is reliable and usually free at the point of use, so it often makes private health care look like an optional extra for the impatient. However when you visit the dentist you will often find that you are paying for NHS care and this can make the decision between opting for either a particularly complicated one. However, in reality there are many factors to consider when choosing between private health care and NHS, as the differences between NHS and private dentistry are particularly pronounced.
We want to offer timely appointments and at great value to the patient. We want to be able to spend time with you to discuss your concerns and anxieties to help put these to rest. We want to be able to offer a wide range of services under one-roof so you are not left at the hands of another dental surgery whom we have little control over. We want to spend time with you to personalise your treatment plan. We want great feedback from you showing that you are happy with the looks and function of your dental work.
The great news is that we treat all patients with the same level of attention and care.
The common misconception is that private dentistry is vastly more expensive. This may not be the case and in some circumstances, such as night guards, it can be cheaper. When you factor in what you get for the extra money it allows you to make the informed decision.
Whichever option you choose your dentist will discuss your treatment options and costs and give you a written estimate before you commit to any treatment.
The purpose of NHS dentistry is to make sure that everyone has access to the dental care that they need to live, eat and drink comfortably. The NHS subsidises the costs of examinations and treatments, NHS dentistry is not free. Although some people are entitled to free care, most of us will have to pay per appointment. The cost structure of NHS treatment is broken into three bands. The cheapest band of appointments, which includes routine check-ups at £21.60, and the most expensive cost £256.50. Considering the increasing costs of complicated dental procedures, a charge of £256.50 is good value. For this reason, NHS dental care is often cheaper than going private.
To see our private prices visit https://www.billericaydentalcare.co.uk/fees
Appiontment Times & availability
Appointments are longer for private patients to allow plenty of time to complete your treatment at a more relaxed pace. This is great if you are an anxious patient.
The NHS limits the amount of NHS treatment each practice can provide and once a clinic reaches its quota they may not be able to offer any more NHS treatment until the next financial year. To ensure we spread this quota over the full year we have to limit some popular times to NHS patient such as evening and early mornings. At Billericay Dental Care we are pleased to offer a 6 day service to both NHS and private patients. As a private patient you would have access to evening, weekend and early morning appointments.
Private Dentistry goes a long way beyond the essential NHS care. There is a greater emphasis on preventative care, this is directly related to the increased time the dentist has with a private patient. Taking onboard this advice for preventing dental problem can have an effect on reducing your lifetime spend on dental care.
NHS treatment is designed to be cost effective for the tax payer, so naturally this means more cost effective materials and laboratories are used. Private work such as dentures, crowns, bridges and implants are usually sent to different private laboratories where named experienced technicians hand make the item.
In addition to this, private dentists will take your dental care that bit further. Teeth, are such a central feature of our face they massively impact on how we feel about ourselves. For this reason, many of us don’t simply care about whether our teeth cause us discomfort, but also how they look when we open our mouths and smile. This means that, as good as the NHS is in dealing with front line problems, private dentists will always have a role in straightening, whitening and keeping them looking their best. This also has advantages when it comes to routine care, because in addition to picking up on structural defects and imminent problems, private dentists will also keep an eye out for aesthetic problems and have a wide range of solutions to hand that are not available on the NHS.
NHS treatment are concerned around function. Private treatment will give you the best function but also a great looking cosmetic result. This can have a bearing on your confidence when you smile. Opening a mouth of black metal filling versus that of colour matched fillings specifically for your mouth. Or the security of a fixed dental implant versus a removable denture.
Certain treatments are not readily available on the NHS eg. dental implants, tooth whitening and orthodontic treatment for patients over the age of 18 such as invisalign.
With private treatments you can request your treatment to be performed by a specialist or dentist with advanced qualification in that are. This means that dentist is focused on that specific treatment such as endodontic (root canal treatment), they perform this type of work more often than a general dentist and are likely to have a better rate of successful treatment.
You may find that your NHS dentist can provide both NHS and private dental work, this may seem contradictory but the tools and laboratries they work with are vastly different.
NHS cleaning is designed to ensure gum health and treat what is clinically necessary eg gum disease and not to specifically remove all stains or for cosmetic reasons
Whereas our private hygienist has ample time and flexibility to educate you on how to prevent dental problems and treat gum disease. This can have a bearing to your ability to maintain a healthy mouth in between appointments.
When it comes to picking your dental care provider, there are many factors to consider. Affordability is a big consideration, as is the quality and versatility of the care that you’re paying for. We certainly believe that NHS dentistry in our surgery is practiced to a high standard, but it does have limitations. We value the versatility and results of private dentistry and fortunately, at Billericay Dental Practice, we offer both, and this allows us to work with clients to find the option that suits them best.