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Dental treatment : NHS v Private

(26 Posts)
Eastsider Wed 04-Aug-10 16:12:37

Have just been landed a heart-stopping quote for route canal treatment at my (private) dental surgery - £650 - £750...shock.

In stark contrast, on ringing a couple of local NHS dental surgeries in my area, they charge £45 - 60 for the same treatment.

Is this a bit of a no-brainer? If I go NHS will it be like a scene from a Hammar-Horror movie? Is there a limit on how much anaesthetic they can administer?

I just can't believe how much private dentists cost. All advice/stories (not too scary, please!)on the difference between NHS and private treatment would be much appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
amummyinwaiting Wed 04-Aug-10 17:16:33

I used to go to a private dentist and she did everything she could to get more money out of us.
We moved to an NHS and although the surgery isnt as "posh" its still clean,nice loooking etc.
The Dentist I see is really nice, he knows I'm a huge wimp and gives me lots of anaesthetic (I'm going to be honest...he also gives me the banana gel to numb my gum first blush )
The only thing I would say is the down side to my dental surgery is that the dentists swap and change a lot so you arnt guaranteed to see the same one.
For me I would definatly only use NHS if I had the choice.
Hope you get it sorted.

agedknees Wed 04-Aug-10 17:41:53

I had private dental work done - cost £2,250, but don't worry I got interest free credit whopee.

1 week after getting my nice nashers one of the teeth fell off the dental plate.

2 weeks after getting my nice nashers one of the crowns fell off.

tbh I think it depends wholly on the dentist. You will get some good nhs ones, some poor nhs ones. Likewise private dentists. I am, however trying to get back to a nhs dentist as I just can't afford to pay privately.

I think you will be ok with NHS dentist (have had root canals on the NHS with no problems).

Hope this helps.

thisisyesterday Wed 04-Aug-10 17:44:29

NHS is absolutely fine. there is no limit to anaesthetic etc etc
i would definitely go NHS for root canal if I were you

there are some things taht are different. for example, I needed a crown done once and my dentist said that I could have it done on nhs for something like £150, but that i would get a much better quality/longer lasting one if i paid privately and it would be between £400-£600

root canal is root canal tho, so i would def consider nhs if i were you

snowmash Wed 04-Aug-10 18:41:28

No anaesthetic limit, but generally an endodontist is good to get a quote from (rare on the NHS).

There's nothing wrong with going to an NHS dentist and seeing how they would feel about doing it (in terms of chance of success/number of visits) - worth looking at an earlier recent thread though.

MmeRedWhiteandBlueberry Wed 04-Aug-10 18:44:25

I had a root canal 6 years ago and it was £700 then.

You probably wont get the same treatment on the NHS.

DBennett Wed 04-Aug-10 19:46:43

The NHS dental contract does some have some odd incentives at work that you might fall foul of.

For example, reimbursement can be the same for removing the tooth (quick and easy) as for root canal work (longer and harder).
This of course adds an incentive to the latter which may not be what you want.

But in principle, the treatment done should be the same quality.

Waiting times might be different though.

Eastsider Thu 05-Aug-10 09:47:59

Thanks to everyone for the advice. Have decided to make an appointment with another dentist who does both private and NHS treatment so he can give me advice on how the treatment differs and the cost. I think my days of using the very expensive dental surgery are over - does seem shocking that they can charge so much for what is, essentially, a big filling.

Will ask for the banana gel also!! grin

OP’s posts: |
fanjoforthemammaries7850 Thu 05-Aug-10 09:50:19

The practice I work at uses better equipment for private root canals and they have a higher success rate.

HonestyBox Thu 05-Aug-10 11:47:44

Root canals are a bit more complicated than a big filling. They involve at least two visits to the dentist - in my case I was in the chair for around 3 hours. I would be surprised if they offer this on the NHS - I always thought they would just pull the tooth out. Also, NHS don't offer white fillings to finish your root canal do they? Just to warn you that after a few years a root canal generally will need to be crowned - anotoer thing I thought the NHS didn't do to a high standard? But if the NHS are offering these things I would go for it.

comtessa Thu 05-Aug-10 11:51:17

If you can find one, go to a dentist surgery which does both NHS and private treatments. I've mixed-and-matched my fillings, white (private) on lower teeth, where they show, and NHS ones on upper back teeth, where they don't show. Same dentist, same appointment, can't remember cost but certainly didn't break the bank. Less that £100 total, I think.

BoffinMum Thu 05-Aug-10 17:08:42

Failure rate for NHS root canal treatment not done by a specialist endodontist is apparently huge. That's why it's cheap. Whereas privately with a specialist it may last decades.

BTW you can get the root canal work done privately by a specialist and then get an NHS crown over the top - I have done this, the crown was OK quality, and I saved a fair bit of cash as I was entitled to free dental ttreatment at the time.

bigstripeytiger Thu 05-Aug-10 17:14:25

If you can see a dentist who can explain both options to you, then that sounds ideal.
Im shocked at £45-60 for root treatment though - that sounds very cheap, Id be concerned about the amount of time that they would be able to spend on the tooth?

sandripples Thu 05-Aug-10 19:49:31

I had root canal work done when a student and it lasted about 20 years. It was NHS at the time but things have changed since then I guess!

Spidermama Thu 05-Aug-10 19:58:52

I was with private dentist and it was all fine because all four of my kids go free and for years I only needed relatively cheap, routine stuff. Now, however, I need a filling and a crown replacement and they're quoting me hundreds.

So I went to the last remaining NHS dentist for a hundred mile radius hmm today.

I was wondering, would I be able to get the routine stuff done at the posh dentist so my kids can go there free, and get the expensive stuff done by the NHS dentist, or is there some rule which means I have to opt for one or the other?

going Thu 05-Aug-10 19:58:55

My dentist is both NHS and private. She always offers me both options and sometimes the private option is cheaper. I need to have a crown and it will cost £198 NHS and £330 privatley if I want a white rather than gold one. The quality of the filling material will not be as good with an NHS filling.

BoffinMum Fri 06-Aug-10 11:16:32

It's perfectly acceptable to use NHS and private dentists and they don't usually have a problem with people doing this.

Apparently, from talking to different dentists I work with, the problem with NHS crowns and so on is that the lab work can be variable, whereas there is better quality control in the private sector.

That having been said, the NHS does its best to keep your mouth healthy. I do think there should be NHS endodontists in every region though - it's not right to be pulling our teeth that can be saved.

Tamashii Fri 06-Aug-10 11:59:36

**** Rant Alert - read at your own risk ****

I was forced to use private dentist (who covered NHS too but any white fillings root canal etc was private) when a white filling on my front tooth cracked and fell out (it had been there for about 8 years no probs - previous NHS dentist put it there!). There were NO NHS dentists taking on patients in the area we had moved to so I ended up at this practise on recommendation of a friend of a friend. The dentist had a big flash advert and lots of awards n certificates on the wall. Fancy surgery, leather couches - all very impressive looking.

Turned out he was a total mysoginistic tw@. He started out really nice, replaced the white filling for about £20 and then advised on everything I needed done setting out charges and everything. He found out I am terrified of dentists and was greatly offended when I told him I could not afford £500 on hypnotherapy from him. From that moment on he was a completely nasty piece of work and I kept going back!!! angry + blush I needed a lot of work done as well as a crown. Every time I went he would change something or find an unexpected extra piece of decay that he had already drilled into so what could I do?? "No, just leave a gaping hole in my tooth". He also worked on my teeth doing 3 fillings and decided to pull a wisdom tooth "while I am at it" so I had my mouth open for 2 hrs solid - he refused to let me close it as he had "another patient after this" keeping his fingers in my mouth. My jaw eventually locked a but then snapped shut and he shouted at me for biting him! How pathetic is all this? I let him treat me like this??? Awful

Anyway, cutting a long story short he ripped me off and I kind of let him because I was a) so terrified and in shock that I would agree to almost anything at the dentists b)took his word that I needed all this stuff done cos I hadn't been for about 3 years and c)I am a bit of a pu$$y so didn't know my rights.

As soon as a space came up at the nearest NHS practise I signed up with them. There is only one dentist so when they are on holiday/off sick you can't be seen and there is a long wait for an appt. She is really quick, uses plenty of anaesthetic, does only work that needs to be done and lets me rest my jaw (which now locks often) whenever I need to. She also understands how nervous I am at the dentist so explains how long the work will take, what she is doing as she goes along and is really calm and patient. Also, the crown the other dentist did needed replacing only 3 months down the line. She said it looked like it had been in there for years since it was so badly done and there was a lot of blood trapped under the gum where the crown was put in.

Obviously I know lots of people who have amazing private dentists but the ones I know weren't taking on new patients either and are expensive but at least they know what they are doing. It is the same as everything else - it doesn't matter if it is private or NHS service, what does matter is that you get recommendations from people you know for a dentist who can do their job properly.

Rant over - sorry but I don't think I will ever get over that evil man I don't know what his other patients get done - maybe he just didn't like me!

BoffinMum Fri 06-Aug-10 12:17:23

Oh dear, what a shit dentist. He will surely go to dentist hell.

I tried to complain about an NHS dentist in Cambridge named P****y B**e that started inducing me to have private work (long story) and then when I went along with this, did it so badly another dentist had to sort it out. I tried to get a refund but they refused unless the other dentist wrote a letter stating what had been done. He would not do this so I was out of pocket by several hundred quid. I then took it to the Ombudsman via the proper channels but nobody would do anything so after a year of formal complaints I gave up, very reluctantly.

Frankly if my mouth had been a car, Trading Standards would have been involved. Shoddy dentists get away with a lot.

BoffinMum Fri 06-Aug-10 12:21:32

PS I do have an excellent (private) dentist now, though, and he is very good at recommending the healthiest course for my teeth. He does things like recommend amalgam fillings for back teeth as they are stronger, and gold crowns rather than ceramic ones for strength and to avoid taking more away from the teeth than is strictly necessary. Whereas the NHS ones used to flog cosmetic treatments the whole time, ceramic crowns and white fillings, because they could charge for these privately rather than only the NHS rate. I trust the private dentist more and my teeth are in very good condition now compared to what they were under the NHS (less toothache, fewer visits required).

MmeRedWhiteandBlueberry Fri 06-Aug-10 12:27:05

My dentist tries to offer me new treatments every couple of years, and he provides me with a fully costed proposal, backed up with x-rays, and photographs.

I shake my head and tell him I can't afford it, and he says we will look again in a while, and I nod.

He has certainly never sprung a surprise on me.

I think the key thing to a good dentist/patient relationship is for both of you to understand one another. He needs to know what you want for your teeth - whether you are happy that they are healthy and will last, or whether you want a perfect smile, or somewhere in between.

With my current and previous dentists, my first appointment didn't even involve me opening my mouth. It was a case of getting to know one another in a non-stressful situation.

There can be nothing worse than a dentist drilling into a tooth, or removing a crown, and then basically holding you hostage. I'm sure it is against their code of ethics.

amummyinwaiting Fri 06-Aug-10 17:48:58

Bannana gel is the way to go! grin

veryconfusedandupset Sun 08-Aug-10 14:35:08

I have had bridges done three times on the NHS and they are fine - one has two teeth in the middle and cost me £180 approx instead of over £2k. My lovely NHS dentist does do some private work, he says the only difference with him is that he will offer you an out of ofice hours appointment if you go private. I've had white fillings on NHS too - and paid a bit extra to have them put in on back teeth.

ilovemydogandMrObama Sun 08-Aug-10 14:52:54

Ugh. Brings it all back angry

Last year, I had a painful back molar and an NHS dentist. He said it needed root canal, but only available privately hmm. This of course was wrong as he accepted me as an NHS patient. Had a discussion with the British Dental Association and they said that I was entitled to the treatment as an NHS patient. So, off I trot back to dentist and he said that it needed extensive treatment, and he could simply say that it needed extraction, but that it could be salvaged if I would go private. Of course this was wrong too.

Anyway, I said I wanted the treatment on the NHS, and he said the only appointment he had was several weeks away, but could fit me in as a private patient.

Ended up going to my friend's dentist who said it needed extraction, but possibly could have been saved had the other dentist said that time was of the essence.

So, the difference between an NHS dentist and a private dentist is time and materials. An NHS dentist will have time constraints and can't get top of the range materials for the job. Could you get the NHS dentist but ask for a white crown?

ShesEverSoFamous Mon 09-Aug-10 17:57:45

Only had bad experiences with private dentists. angry
Warning, long story!

I had been going to the practice since I was very young, the dentist I'd always went to sold his surgery and I thought "OK, private is supposed to be better, might as well."

DH accidently knocked/snapped one of my front teeth one night in his sleep (there must have been something wrong with it anyway for it to come out so easily) and I made an emergency appointment to see the new dentist the next day.

While she put a temporary crown in her hand sort of slipped slightly and she cracked my other front tooth with the drill!! She filled the crack and told me I would have a permanent crown within a week, I went back a week later and they decided I needed root canal treatment and a few fillings and kept pushing the crown fitting back, wouldn't be so bad if the bloody thing didn't keep falling out when I was eating or talking to someone. I had to buy a paste to keep putting it back in, I sat at my 21st birthday party with my tooth stuck in with chewing gum!!! angry

After 6 months I gave up and went to our local emergency dentist at an NHS hospital and sat until they said they would fix it, it was done within three days. I now have my mouth back!!!

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