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Recieved private dental treatment when I requested NHS - now being charged.

(35 Posts)
LapsedPacifist Thu 20-Oct-11 14:07:24

Don't know if this is the best place for this, but here goes.

I lost a tooth last year and asked the dentist about getting it replaced. They explained I could have an implant (too expensive) - a private partial appliance for £500 or a free basic NHS applicance. I am in receipt of tax credits, so opted for the free NHS one, with the idea in mind that I could always "trade upwards"if I couldn't get on with the cheap option. The dentist agreed that this would be the most sensible option, given that I've never had a dental applicance before.

I had a total of 4 visits to have impressions etc taken and finally picked up my appliance last week, and told to come back if I had any problems with it. That was all that was said. 3 days later, while I was away visiting friends, my husband received a phone call from the clinic saying I had "left without paying" and needed to sort it out immediately. He queried this, saying it should have been free treatment on the NHS and the receptionist immediately became very defensive, insisting that the dentist had explained everything to me very carefully and there couldn't possible have been a mistake.

This is nonsense. My dentist agreed the NHS option was the most sensible one for me. At no point was I asked to sign anything agreeing to private treatment. My dentist did not tell me to go to reception and pay after collecting the appliance.

What on earth should I do? I am a full-time student and can't afford to pay for this!

MotherPanda Thu 20-Oct-11 14:09:04

don't pay for it - you asked for nhs, and thats what you should have been given. keep repeating this!

Ponders Thu 20-Oct-11 14:10:44

even on the NHS there is a charge for appliances - they have to pay the lab!

how much is the charge?

rubyslippers Thu 20-Oct-11 14:12:09

There is a cost implication even with NHS treatment

It won't be as much as private but there is a charge especially for impressions etc

Maybe they mean you didn't pay that cost?

littleducks Thu 20-Oct-11 14:14:42

If you are in receipt of tax credits and receive a 'nhs prescription charges exemptuion certificate' (like a credit card with a number on) you receive free nhs dental treatment.

You do have to sign a form, with the number on, did you do this?

thisisyesterday Thu 20-Oct-11 14:14:57

NHS dental treatment is NOT free unless you are exempt for some reason.

LapsedPacifist Thu 20-Oct-11 14:15:17

Don't know what the charge will be - I haven't spoken to the dentist yet, just got back home and wanted to be armed with some advice before I contact them!

I am entitled to free NHS dental treatment as I have an exepmtion certificate, and the dentist confirmed more than once that there would be no charge for the NHS appliance.

The receptionist told my DH that I had asked for and received private treatment.

They are the only clinic around here that takes NHS patients sad.

LapsedPacifist Thu 20-Oct-11 14:16:07

I didn't sign a form. Come to think about it, I usually do when I've had treatment.

WhatsWrongWithYou Thu 20-Oct-11 14:16:31

This sort of thing has happened to me before, although, as others have said, there will still be a charge for NHS treatment, so you might need to clarify this isn't what they mean by 'npt paying.'

You could try calling the dental helpline for advice.

going Thu 20-Oct-11 14:17:28

Did sign a NHS form? Unless you are exempt an appliance will cost £204. Hopefully you will get this sorted soon.

thisisyesterday Thu 20-Oct-11 14:19:38

right well you need to ring and ask to speak to the dentist then

Ponders Thu 20-Oct-11 14:19:47

The receptionist told my DH that I had asked for and received private treatment.

That's a bit dodgy. It's clear that you wouldn't have, when you literally can't afford it - & surely you should have to sign a form for either option, to show that you consented to whichever treatment you had?

MackerelOfFact Thu 20-Oct-11 14:24:42

Have they seen your exception certificate? I'm not exempt but I assume you still need to go back to reception to settle the cost (either with money or an exemption certificate). Could this be what they mean?

LapsedPacifist Thu 20-Oct-11 14:29:04

Mackerel, I suspect the appliance I've received is not the NHS one. It has a metal clip on it, and I think I was told this was only on the private appliance. But I just never thought to query this when I collected it, it was a 5 minute appointment ands 3 months after my initial consultation!

Ponders, that's what I thought. They know I have an exemption cert.

My dentist (qualified 2 years ago) and her assistant are both very young and very scatty. I've overheard several conversations between them about stuff they've forgotten to do, or admin mistakes that have been made, while I've been in the chair!

GypsyMoth Thu 20-Oct-11 14:44:33

I didn't think you could get ANY cosmetic treatment on the nhs?

( Jeremy Kyle show has many toothless guests who I'm guessing are on benefits too)

GypsyMoth Thu 20-Oct-11 14:45:19

God, that sounds ridiculous!! But I know what I mean!

LemonPeel Thu 20-Oct-11 14:49:13

Don't you have to pay 'lab fees' etc, even if you are nhs?

LapsedPacifist Thu 20-Oct-11 16:16:15

Well, I rang the dental helpline (WhatWrong - you are a STAR! grin) and was told that unless I had signed a treatment plan agreeing to private treatment then I must be treated as an NHS patient. They can't charge me.

Rang the dentist saying I was returning their call, and they told me I owed them £500. I said I'd requested NHS treatment and told them to ring me back when they had located my signed treatment plan and I'd make arrangments to come in and pay. Cue swift ending of call by receptionist. Still waiting.

Unless my menopausal brain is seriously going wrong, I did not sign anything!

ILoveTiffany - this isn't "cosmetic" treatment - I was told it was necessary to fill the gap because otherwise your gums start to cave in and other nasty stuff hmm . Anyways, you certainly CAN get dentures (or a denture in this case) free on the NHS. I've ALWAYS wondered about the fangless Jeremy Vile candidates - assumed it was part of a sub-culture "look" which I just didn't get.

LapsedPacifist Thu 20-Oct-11 16:26:36

On another note however, when I first jointed this dental practice 2 years ago I was told I needed urgent root canal treatment and crowns for my 2 biggest bottom back molars. If I didn't get this work done, the teeth would have to be extracted. I was told quite categorically by my own dentist and the root canal specialist I consulted at the practice that this work was only available privately because root canal work is not available on the NHS. I was also told that the missing teeth could not be crowned without the expensive root-canal treatment, so I would just be left with a huge double gap post-extraction. I would not be able to eat properly on that side, the gum would start to erode and my face would become lop-sided.

So, I borrowed the money (£1,000) and got the work done. It took me 18 months to pay for it. I must admit, the dentist did a good job.

But when I rang the dental helpline earlier I mentioned this to them in passing, they said that a) what I was told was bollox, and b) this sort of mis-selling of private root-canal treatment VERY common and I have grounds to make a formal complaint to my PCT.

thisisyesterday Thu 20-Oct-11 17:30:45

you can get dentures on the nhs if you knock a tooth/teeth out but iirc it has to be one of the front 8 or 10 or something? ones that are seen when you open your mouth.
and obviously you can get full sets of dentures if you lose your teeth.

LapsedPacifist Thu 20-Oct-11 17:37:26

My lost peggy is quite near the front and therefore visible when I smile. I broke it on a rogue peppercorn whilst eating organic macaroni cheese hmm.

GypsyMoth Thu 20-Oct-11 17:37:58

Op, glad you didn't take offence with my JK comment!

littleducks Thu 20-Oct-11 17:38:06

That is much worse about the root canal treatment. I really thik you should complain about that, think how many people could be ripped off £1000.

LapsedPacifist Thu 20-Oct-11 17:42:20

Is SO not a good look. I know at my age <"Menopausal Wimmin don't have hot flushes - they have power surges!!!" ha bloody ha hmm> I should not be TOO vain and should be learning to Embrace My Inner Crone, but frankly, I'd rather not see her leering back at me from the mirror every morning.

WhatsWrongWithYou Thu 20-Oct-11 21:59:05

< Bows >
Glad the helpline was useful.

I'm actually quite pissed off now as when a very similar thing happened to me years ago, I was told 'oh, we hear about this sort of thing all the time, it's a bit naughty but there's not much you can do I'm afraid. I ended up leaving the gap (near the back but still visible) for a few years before I could afford to have it bridged by another dentist.

Mind you, this was a good 12 years ago, when I think private dentistry was just becoming a gravy train. I guess from what you say rules must have been tightened up. Got to be good news.

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