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to be confused about the dentist...

(54 Posts)
funnysmells Wed 31-Aug-16 13:52:24

I have a tax credits exemption certificate, and have always had my dental treatment from free because of that, which is great as because I am a diabetic I have gum disease and it's a constant battle to keep it under control and requires quite frequent treatment / scaling etc. to keep it at bay.

Having moved to London, I was told that although my dental treatment is free, to have the cleaning / scaling and sometimes root planing treatment that I need, i need to visit the hygenist - and that this person is not covered by my NHS exemption certificate.

This treatment is very expensive. Was £300 last week for root planing, that was medically necessary.

AIBU to think it's a bit out of order for the dentist to not perform this treatment for me? it's confusing.

SecretSpy Wed 31-Aug-16 14:00:23

My understanding is that deep cleans /scaling that needs doing for a clinical need should be an NHS service but scale and polish for cosmetic reasons is private.

The section on dental treatments by band suggests that root planing should come under Band 2

blowmybarnacles Wed 31-Aug-16 14:06:39

This is what a lot if dentistd do, try and charge privately, challenge it.
My dentist examined me then said j needed to see the hygienist when it is part of the exam chargeconfused

funnysmells Wed 31-Aug-16 16:15:03

I did go in today and asked at reception and they told me that the dentists didn't do teeth cleaning and my only option was to have it done privately. I argued with her for some time, showing her the NHS link above and she just kept saying "only a hygienist does cleaning".

I asked her how people with no money were supposed to get their gums treated then, and she looked vacantly at me.

The denist then came out and I asked her why, as an exemption certificate holder, I am being charged £100 an hour for a dental hygienist to clean my teeth when she should be doing it as part of the checkup and she literally did not make eye contact.

total bull shit from her and it was obvious that they have a well practiced system for conning their patients.

They are an NHS dentist, obviously trying to scam patient and what a shame they prey on the needy and disabled at a time they are probably scared and vulnerable.

Anyway, I stormed out and told them I want a refund and am getting another dentist. I was so upset, they just say there lying to my face telling me teeth cleaning wasn;t covered by the NHS. So ridiculous,l I wish I had tape recorded it!

BrightOranges Wed 31-Aug-16 16:20:01

I don't think cleaning teeth is part of a check up and would then probably be charged separately.
You are possibly wrong in this instance.

MoosLikeJagger Wed 31-Aug-16 16:24:06

If you find an NHS dentist, do let me know. No dentist local to me treats adults on the NHS.

SherlockPotter Wed 31-Aug-16 16:28:16

Not every dentist can offer hygienist services though, especially if they are a small practice...

blessedmummyov5 Wed 31-Aug-16 16:28:54

I have exemption I'm with nhs dentist and mine were cleaned n scaled last time I was in no charge

funnysmells Wed 31-Aug-16 16:30:32

Yes they are an NHS dentist. No private patients at all, so they should know better than anyone.

Teeth cleaning (scale and polish) is band 1 treatment. Fee of £19 or so.

The first time I saw this dentist they charged me the £19 (which I should not have had to pay) just to look in my mouth and tell me I needed to see the £100 an hour for someone else to clean them,.

That's immoral.

funnysmells Wed 31-Aug-16 16:34:59

Yes blessed, was also the case for me previously always. Have never paid to have my teeth cleaned, and this is a huge practice with lots of hygienists.

At the time I first went in, I was really surprised that they were telling me the treatment I needed was going to cost me hundreds of pounds. I put it off because I just could not afford it and as a result my condition has massively worsened.

I asked them extensively if they could tell me for sure it was not covered by my exemption and they said it wasn't and they should have informed me properly.

Even if only so I could find another dentist. they lied to me very directly, telling me the treatment I wanted was not covered by the NHS - and the treatment was simple cleaning. Perhaps now a deeper clean is needed and perhaps surgery, but this is a direct result of me avoiding the expensive cleaning.

MackerelOfFact Wed 31-Aug-16 17:18:36

I think you're being a bit harsh.

This is from the NHS Choices website and refers to the NHS England contract:

"If your dentist says that scaling is clinically required, then this is available on the NHS. A simple scaling should be treatment Band 1, however, more complex treatment for gum problems may be charged with Band 2.

Many dental hygienists now work under direct access where you can request to see the hygienist directly for a scale or polish. Hygienists can only provide this open access on a private basis and you should check the cost of the treatment when booking an appointment.

If your dentist says a scale and polish is not clinically necessary, but you want one anyway then you will have to pay for it privately."

So it sounds like your previous dentist found it to be clinically necessary but your new dentist does not. The British Dental Association (BDA) issued an updated evidence summary on clinical effectiveness of routine scale and polish procedures earlier this year which seemed to find no clinical benefit - so this may be the reason for the change in opinion. They can't force you to pay for private treatment, it's optional, but that doesn't mean they have to provide it on the NHS if you refuse.

Really though, you might be better off asking the dentist how you can reduce the need for scale and polish in the first place by improving your oral health habits as it's largely preventable.

MrsWorryWart Wed 31-Aug-16 17:28:58

I always get my teeth cleaned and polished when I'm at my usual check-up.

I've never been, or heard, of anyone being charged for it hmm

ticketstub Wed 31-Aug-16 17:48:28

It may be worth raising the issue with the clinical commissioning group / health board in your area.

madhurjazz Wed 31-Aug-16 17:56:13

NHS polish is shit.

Worth paying 40 quid for the bitch of a hygienist to grind them down so they are sensitive for a few days, but look great

Trumpity Wed 31-Aug-16 18:10:21

Bitch of a hygienist?
Well, Gee, thanks.

I trained and studied bloody hard to qualify and in 14 years of practising, still get told how gentle yet thorough I am. This attitude to hygienists does my head in.

OP. Ask for a referral to a perio department at hospital if you can't afford the hygienist charge (and £100 an hour? I'm obviously in the wrong location!)

And diabetes doesn't mean you will have perio disease. It may make it harder to deal with, but I'd be on a mission to stop it!

bonzo77 Wed 31-Aug-16 18:34:34

Dentist here. What mackerel above said. But... I would question why the scaling is now not clinically necessary. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. Ask to see your BPE (basic periodontal examination) chart. Any score of 2 means some light scaling is required (quick job by dentist). 3 means that they need to do a bit deeper and 4 or * means deep scaling / root planing might be required. Basically any score over 1 and they should be offering you NHS scaling. Having said that, most hygienists are better than most dentists at this scaling / root planing and can give you longer to do it, and if it was clinically necessary with a score of >/=3 I would be paying to see the hygienist.

bonzo77 Wed 31-Aug-16 18:35:52

Oh. And if they've not done a BPE the exam they did on you was incomplete and they can't tell if it's clinically necessary or not.

funnysmells Wed 31-Aug-16 18:50:53


That is not what happened at all. My gum disease is very bad and my hygiene is not the problem. As I said i am diabetic. but what a way to victim blame. My oral care is probably 10 x the average person but controlling gum disease is very hard with regular dentists cleans. Especially hard when you have avoided it for a year because your dentist told you it was going to cost you £400 and £50 for every simple scale and polish to keep it under control.

You are also wrong that my denists did not think it was bad enough to warrant treatment. Bonzo my pockets ranged from a 1 to a 7 on the scale with a lot of bone loss apparently. It is very bad and I really needed urgent treatment to prevent tooth loss and get it under control.

They told me today is was "too bad" for the dentist and i needed the hygienist. they told me it was so bad that the dentist could not do it. I do not understand can your dental problem be TOO bad to warrant NHS treatment?

total lies.

They have charged me at £100 per hours for everything. Basic scale and polish, deeper cleaning. The dentist won't give me any treatment on the NHS.

I registered with another surgery 2 miles away this afternoon and they are going to do my treatment free of charge in futue as it should have always been

Trumpity Wed 31-Aug-16 18:53:37

I think you meant the "victim blame" comment to me?
Sorry - I was actually saying that about me- j would be on a mission to stop it!

Johnny5isAlive Wed 31-Aug-16 18:53:47

My hygienist is NHS (I also suffer with gum disease). I then claim back through my dental insurance so definitely NHS as I'm not covered for private

Trumpity Wed 31-Aug-16 18:54:49


(If you were my patient)

Thegiantofillinois Wed 31-Aug-16 18:59:21

I pay £45 every 3 months for my dentist to scrape my gums with the pointy stick of pain. It's an NHS dentist but in Wales, if that makes a difference.

MackerelOfFact Wed 31-Aug-16 19:28:35

OP, you're clearly very het up about this - if you genuinely think they have scammed you (not too sure how when you haven't actually parted with any money) or you have any issues with your diagnosis or treatment plan, make a complaint to the practice and if necessary escalate to the GDC if you truly feel the dentist has been negligent. If they're scamming patients they clearly shouldn't be practising at all.

I'm glad you've found somewhere that will do it for you for free. In London, two miles away could well mean it's a different CCG with a slightly different contract.

madhurjazz Wed 31-Aug-16 19:29:34

Trump I was joking, I love a good scrape. I'm jot there to get my teeth tickled!

bonzo77 Wed 31-Aug-16 21:28:45

funny you might be eligible for specialist care for free at a dental hospital (beware, the waiting list is loooooong). To qualify you will need to have 1. Immaculate oral hygiene 2. Not smoke. 3. Have undergone and failed to respond to a course of standard perio therapy with the referring dentist. If you are younger than average with early onset / rapidly progressive disease that will also count in your favour.

Is your diabetic control good? The perio status and your diabetes can interact, each affecting the other. Hospital based periodontist will be better able to liaise with your diabetic clinic.

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