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to think that dentistry should be free for everyone?

(25 Posts)
sunshineandbooks Fri 10-Jun-11 21:54:04

Ok, so I'll admit this a feeling sorry for myself thread.

I lost a crown a few days ago. I also need a root canal job and a filling. These will undoubtedly require a set of X-rays. All in, it's going to cost me several hundred pounds and I can't afford it.

I am currently eating on only one side of my mouth because I don't think I can afford to go until November.

AIBU to think that dentistry should be free for everyone? I accept about eye tests and glasses because even though £100 hurts, it's manageable for most people earning more than the NHS Exemption Card threshold, but modern dentistry is just so incredibly expensive that IMO it's out of the reach of all but the very well off.

MmeBlueberry Fri 10-Jun-11 22:06:38


The standard of British teeth have improve dramatically since private care became widespread.

And tooth decay/gum disease is almost always preventable.

southeastastra Fri 10-Jun-11 22:08:22

not free but regulated alot, prices seem to vary to stupid amounts!

i've had alot of treatment this year and (while i have a job!) can just about afford it but this is for nhs treatment

Xales Fri 10-Jun-11 22:09:02

Ouch you have my sympathies having been there with a crown, root canal etc. Can you arrange a payment plan with the dentist? Eating on one side and half your tooth missing for months is going to make the situation much worse sad

However with an astigmatism (spelling) a non tinted pair of scratch resistant lenses alone cost me £100 without a frame to go around them. I could probably get cheaper thicker ones but they would be like bottle tops and I don't want to look completely unattractive! They also seem to need replacing every year as my eye sight is still changing and not for the better sad

Also where do you draw the line? An astigmatism or short sightedness is not something I am aware I can have avoided.

Some people look after their teeth some people don't. My ex probably didn't clean his teeth properly or go to the dentist for about 8 years now most of his teeth are being removed and he is looking at £10,000 for a few implants at under 40.

Should we pay for people who don't care for their teeth properly after all it is their own fault?

Doesn't solve your problem or make you feel any better I know though.

sunshineandbooks Fri 10-Jun-11 22:10:12

Tooth decay/gum disease is almost always preventable. Yes, but crap teeth are genetic so 'ner'. <tongue sticking out emoticon required>

I am obsessed with looking after my teeth properly and I have, to date, spent £2000 on them. Nothing cosmetic, just the fact that I have teeth that are prone to fracturing and crumbling.

WishIWasRimaHorton Fri 10-Jun-11 22:15:06

understand where you are coming from. but YABU re: eyecare costs, as it costs me nearly 400 quid every time i go to get glasses. my eyesight is so poor that i get free NHS eyetests and 100 quid off a pair of frames with lenses every 2 years. but like Xales i have the thinnest lenses they make, otherwise the glasses that i wear every waking moment of the day would make me look truly hideous as the lenses would be like pebbles. i cannot wear contact lenses as i do a lot of night time driving and there is no lens which gives me sufficient night time vision to be able to drive safely.

i am also restricted as to the frames i can choose due to the type of lenses i need. therefore, even though i get 100 quid voucher, i still end up paying 400 quid out of my own money for glasses to help me see.

and then DD grabs my glasses and breaks them. sob...

so my dentistry costs are minimal fortunately in comparison to my optician costs.

Xales Fri 10-Jun-11 22:18:26

Oh yes I forgot the joy of the toddlers breaking them, and standing up fast when you are leaning over them doing their shoes or something and headbutting them into the bridge of your nose breaking them and cutting you.

Mind you my son broke the point off 2 canines too 'feeding' me.

He seems to have it in for me both dentistry and glasses wise.

sunshineandbooks Fri 10-Jun-11 22:18:30

Ouch. Sympathies there WishIWas.

Hadn't considered that. I wear glasses but because I am just straightforward shortsighted and can get glasses quite cheap, i'd forgotten that more complicated glasses may cost a lot more. Sorry.

Ok, at the risk of being further flamed, shall I change my OP to: to think that dentistry AND eye care should be free for everyone?

I just feel that teeth (and eyes) are such a fundamentally important part of your overall health that she should be treated the same as the rest of the NHS.

WishIWasRimaHorton Fri 10-Jun-11 22:19:32

my dentist actually told me that it was a myth that crap teeth were genetic. he said that it would be like saying crap bones were genetic. (and then someone will talk about brittle bones or osteoporosis but no, he didn't mean those diseases). he actually said that there was significant modern research (i didn't grill him on this as i had my mouth open at the time and he was prodding my teeth with a sharp pointy thing) which stated that actually the 'genetic' element was in fact down to the bacteria in the mother's mouth. because the mother did a lot of kissing of the child and also pre-chewing, blowing and tasting, biting and offering of food, if the mother had a high amount of bacteria in her mouth, it was likely that these would be transferred to the infant / child and this was actually what made the infant / child's teeth more subject to decay if the mother also had significant decay.

haven't sough to corroborate that. just that he told me 'bad teeth' as such weren't inherited.

sunshineandbooks Fri 10-Jun-11 22:20:03

Xales, I have this very scary image of you now - involving squinting and broken vampire teeth... wink

Xales Fri 10-Jun-11 22:21:39


Don't forget the blood running down the nose from the glasses/headbutt too.

MmeBlueberry Fri 10-Jun-11 22:24:56

Poor dental hygiene is by far the biggest factor in tooth decay and gum problems. This is probably followed by poor saliva production.

If weak teeth is a real phenomenon, hygiene is still what is required. You are not off the hook because you think your enamel is thinner than average.

And even is some people have genetic problems, this doesn't mean that dental treatment should be free for everyone.

sunshineandbooks Fri 10-Jun-11 22:25:14


WishIWasRimaHorton Fri 10-Jun-11 22:25:31

i do agree: access to basic healthcare, including dentistry and eyecare, should be free. of course if you want flashing pink fillings or super-bling glasses, then you should be expected to pay for them. and actually i don't think it's unreasonable that i pay towards thinned lenses. it's just 500 quid (which is what it would cost if i didn't get the NHS voucher) is waaaaay too much. and i don't even go for bling frames. the frames are usually £60 at most, pretty much as cheap as they get. i also don't go for polarising lenses as that would make the cost even more exorbitant. and then i have to pay for prescription sunglasses. and swimming goggles. (i really can see NOTHING without glasses on).

DD (aged 2.3) also wears glasses. i expect i will have to have deep pockets for her too. she is already on her second pair of (free) NHS glasses and she has only had them 8 weeks.

kerrymumbles Fri 10-Jun-11 22:27:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sunshineandbooks Fri 10-Jun-11 22:28:23

Fair enough MmeBlueberry (though you obviously missed the bit where I mentioned how obsessed I am about my dental hygeine. I keep a toothbrush at work and everything. I certainly don't have gum disease).

However, how come this approach only applies to dentistry? Or are you also of the opinion that we should charge to treat smokers or people with poor diets?

kerrymumbles Fri 10-Jun-11 22:28:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sunshineandbooks Fri 10-Jun-11 22:29:31

kerry - seriously? shock

FunnysInTheGarden Fri 10-Jun-11 22:30:42

MmeBlueberry surely you are joking when you say British teeth have improved since NHS care for all was abolished. Have you ever watched Jeremy Kyle. It was the worst thing possible for poor folk to no longer have free dental care.

FunnysInTheGarden Fri 10-Jun-11 22:32:27

and OP YANBU. I think that it is a scandal that dentistry has been privatised. No one likes visiting the dentist, even less so when it costs loads of ££££

startail Fri 10-Jun-11 22:36:18

At least I can see better when I've shelled out for the optician and had a laugh trying on glasses that don't suit me.

Mostly the dentist seems to poke around, tut tut a bit and then make me go to the hygienist which I hate and I'm a £100 poorer. I try to set a good example to the DCs, but left to my own devices I would only go if something hurt.

BikeRunSki Fri 10-Jun-11 22:48:09

My glasses cost at least £200 a pair, if I get simple frames and go to a high street chain. I am very shortsighted and astigmatic.

OTOH I only have 3 fillings and dentist gives me a check up once a year. I am fortunate to have an NHS dentist, who has also taken on DS.

In both pg my eyes have got better enough to need new glasses, but are they covered by NHS Maternity Exemption. Of course not, eveb though optician says this is quite common and down to relaxin relaxing my silly tight shortsighted focusing muscles. ]

At least a 20 year old filling came out and I got a new, white on for free.

reallytired Fri 10-Jun-11 22:53:26

I think the standard of nhs dentistry for children is truely appauling. It is drill and fill and there is no education how to clean your teeth properly. For example many people do not have a clue on how to use floss properly.

I took my son to a private dentist, We have been given a diet sheet to analyse his diet. He is going to a session with the dental educator to teach him how to clean his teeth. We are also being given plaque disclosing tablets to check the standard of his teeth cleaning. Our previous NHS dentist did not have the time to do this. Also the NHS filling kept on falling out and my son had been left with post traumatic stress from very fast appointments. Unfortunately its very expensive, but early tooth decay can be treated with Ozone instead of driling the tooth. NICE only consider cost. Avoiding trauma to children is not a factor, hence Ozone is not available on the NHS.

The problem with dentistry is deciding where the line is between cosmetic and functional dentistry. For example white fillings are not essential. Braces can improve dental health if teeth are very crooked.

There are insurance schemes to cover against high costs. I would like the governant to provide insurance schemes at low cost for people who earn too much to get free dentistry, but still struggle to pay.

adamschic Fri 10-Jun-11 22:56:15

YANBU, I get free dental care as I have an exemption and am assessed as being poor enough to not have to pay NHS fees. The service I receive is 3rd rate. I have a check up every six months and get a scale and polish. I have serious gum disease and need work on crowns that are over 20 yrs old and coming away from my gums, these are front teeth crowns sad Dentist won't replace them.

I brush, floss and use medicated mouth wash so it's nothing that I could have prevented. I would gladly pay into a private plan if my tax was reduced to cover it but cannot afford it atm.

The NHS service is terrible. This wasn't the case years ago, we got a decent service.

adamschic Fri 10-Jun-11 23:08:36

Also when I asked to have the crowns replaced was told they are fine but just don't look very nice. This practice was set up because they agreed to take NHS patients when my previous dentist and the others in our town went fully private.

Said new dentist who told me my teeth 'don't look very nice' (foreign doctor so not a great way with words) also do a sideline in beauty and offer botox at £150 plus a pop. grrr!!!!

Rant over.

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