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Bad experience at dentists

(16 Posts)
Bailey29 Thu 14-Nov-19 18:02:36

I've just come back from the dentists and am left feeling slightly confused and a bit angry.

I went in for a filling, part of an existing filling had broken away, resulting in a hole on a back molar.

The dentist did a hard sell on a crown and root canal treatment (to be done privately for £1500!) I cannot afford this type of treatment. He said the NHS version wasn't good enough and wouldn't save the tooth.

He went ahead and did a filling. It was over fairly quickly and I felt quite relieved at this point.

I have a check up in 2 weeks so was just leaving and said see you soon. The dentist said he'd only charge £22.70 for the filling because it was an emergency filling. I thought this was odd because I was expecting to pay for band 2 nhs treatment as this is where fillings fall under.

When I got home I googled emergency filling and have since realised it's just a temporary one. This was never explained to me.

I feel frustrated that there was a hard sell on expensive private treatment and feel like he should have explained the temporary filling situation. I've found out I'm meant to be more gentle with a temporary filling. But this wasn't explained to me! I'll also obviously need to have a proper one done but again this wasn't mentioned!

Sorry about the rant, I feel so frustrated and feel like I was just rushed out of my appointment without a proper explanation.

I have tried to ring the practice twice but there's no answer.

Why wouldn't the NHS treatment be any good?

OP’s posts: |
Judystilldreamsofhorses Thu 14-Nov-19 22:00:29

I don’t know about the charges you paid, but a private root canal done by a specialist (for £££) is more likely to use high-tech fancy equipment like a powerful microscope, and that person probably only does root canals, day-in, day-out. They also will have done extra training beyond a general dentistry qualification.

My NHS dentist did a root canal on a molar for me, which was absolutely fine. I also had one done by a private specialist on her recommendation, because she felt the tooth was complex and she might not be able to treat it successfully. (I actually had an NHS crown fitted after the private specialist discharged me. I think the cost for both private root canal and NHS crown together was just under £1,000.)

So, I am not a dentist, but I think there are a couple of possible things afoot.

1) the NHS dentist doesn’t want to do the treatment because it’s not financially viable in terms of what you would pay versus what it costs in terms of time/equipment etc. I am not sure he can just say the NHS treatment won’t be good enough, tbh.

2) the NHS dentist thinks the tooth is beyond his capabilities, and that a specialist would have a better chance of doing the root canal, and saving the tooth.

AdaColeman Thu 14-Nov-19 22:44:57

Phone the surgery up and change your check up appointment to a filling appointment, as temporary fillings are just that, and have only a short life span.
You can have a permanent filling done, then if it fails/breaks you still have the option of other treatment.

Blobby10 Fri 15-Nov-19 10:34:22

My OH is a private dentist - he says that the NHS dentist only gets paid £60 for a root filling and £60 for an extraction so they will often opt for the extraction as it's quicker and cheaper in the long run. They wont use such high quality composites and other materials as a private dentist and won't have as much time to spend with the patient but even then £1500 for a root filling sounds extortionate! I thought £600 was bad enough. If the dentist has taken out the pulp of the tooth he may have put a temporary filling in until he can do the proper filling but the temporary ones should only be for a week or so anyway!

Bailey29 Fri 15-Nov-19 14:20:30

Thank you for your replies. I've calmed down a bit today! I've booked a check up with another dentist so I can get a second opinion. I really feel like he was trying to pressure me into expensive treatment and I didn't like his attitude to be honest.

I'm nervous enough about going to the dentist, this has only made it worse.

OP’s posts: |
BlueCornsihPixie Fri 15-Nov-19 16:52:35

It sounds to me like your tooth needs a root canal?

If it needs a root canal there's no point putting a permanent filling in because its going to need to come out when you root fill the tooth, or when you take the tooth out if you don't want it root filled

Its not necessarily a temporary. I have done white fillings as an emergency if it's a broken filling and I've done a small repair, and just charged the emergency rate.

BlueCornsihPixie Fri 15-Nov-19 16:53:49

What did the dentist actually say about root canal/crowning?

Bailey29 Fri 15-Nov-19 17:16:38

BlueCornishPixie the dentist said I need to have a crown fitted or I might lose the tooth down the line.

I had quite a large filling on this tooth about 7 years ago, which was done by a different dentist (this is what broke away recently). There was also been root canal treatment done on the tooth before the filling was put in place. I tried to explain this to the dentist who said the NHS root canal isn't good enough and he'd suggest I get it done privately before having a crown fitted. He also suggested getting a crown fitted privately because it will be better quality than through the NHS. He basically said if I want to keep the tooth, I'd need to get the treatment all done privately and gave the rough quote, which made me almost fall through the floor. I'm currently a student, so don't have that sort of money to hand at the moment. He was even telling his assistant to make notes in my file "patient refusing suggested treatment due to lack of funds" the whole situation made me feel very uncomfortable.

OP’s posts: |
Bailey29 Fri 15-Nov-19 17:22:09

Sorry, I'm trying not to drop feed. I'm not in any pain and he hasn't taken an xray, how does he know I'll need root canal done again?

OP’s posts: |
BlueCornsihPixie Fri 15-Nov-19 17:38:22

If it's got a big filling in it then crowning it can help preserve it for longer, especially if the filling is breaking. Root treated teeth generally need crowning anyway as they are more brittle.

If the filling has broken exposing the root canal then it's possible the root canal can get reinfected. Especially if the filling has been cracked for some time you can get a situation where you have an infected root filling that is draining through the cracked filling.

If you put an expensive private crown on it, you seal in the infected root filling. You then get an abscess forming, and have to cut through your new expensive crown to retreat. Ergo better to retreat before crowning if the root filling has been exposed. I wouldn't crown an old root treated tooth with a broken filling tbh.

Retreatment is not often offered on the NHS because it is generally specialist work and has a high failure rate on the NHS. An NHS crown is functionally sound but poor in appearance, generally private crowns are better although NHS will do the job.

However you would be well within your rights to say you didn't want any of that treatment, and just wanted the filling. Which long-term may break and fail but obviously a lot cheaper. Why don't you contact the dentist and ask what filling material they used?

Bailey29 Fri 15-Nov-19 18:09:18

Thank you for explaining everything so well. I feel like I understand it better now. To be honest, I just didn't feel comfortable with that practice so am going to go elsewhere. Thank you for your help. smile

OP’s posts: |
UnrelentingFruitScoffer Fri 15-Nov-19 18:18:09

Just go to a different dentist. No need to pay £1,500. Look at advertised prices.

ImperfectTents Fri 15-Nov-19 18:21:53

For that money you could get an implant

BlueCornsihPixie Fri 15-Nov-19 19:46:25

That's fair enough OP! Hope you like the new practice better!

Talkthirtytome Sat 16-Nov-19 00:15:45

What colour is the filling? Did you hear what material was used? If you come in as an emergency they can charge you for a band 1 treatment if it just requires fixing the problem/getting you out of pain (I was a dental nurse before having my son 3 years ago) x

bionicnemonic Sat 16-Nov-19 00:26:49

This may not be suitable but it might be of use to someone...free dental care with trainee dentists
www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/resources/patient-information/dental/free-dental-care-with-students-in-training-web.pdf

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