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Talk to the CQC about dental care and you could win £100 for your favourite charity NOW CLOSED

(112 Posts)
AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 05-Jan-15 14:23:44

We've been asked by the Care Quality Commission to find out about Mumsnetters' opinions and experiences of dental care and dentists.

The Care Quality Commission say: "We believe passionately that everyone in our society deserves safe, high quality, accessible dental care. To help ensure dental services (high street dentists and emergency out of hours services) are safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well-led, we are changing the way we regulate, inspect and rate dental care.

During an inspection, we look at premises, systems and processes, dental records and observe care being given. We also speak to patients and dental staff, to find out what they think about services being provided and identify any concerns, or best practice.

We want to hear your views on what good dental care looks like for you and your family, to help us decide which key areas we should focus on during our new style inspections, which will be finalised by April 2015."

So, what does good dental care look like for you? What is more important to you, in terms of dental care? Have you had any particularly good experiences of dental care in the past few years? Or have you had any particularly bad experiences? What would you like the CQC to look for when inspecting dental services? Is there anything in particular that you think could be done to improve dental care in general?

Whatever your experiences have been, the CQC would love to hear about them.

Everyone who adds a comment to this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will receive a £100 donation to the charity of their choice.


PS - For more information on what the CQC look for during dental inspections, you can download their draft dental care service handbook here.
You can also take part in their online consultation here, if you have more in-depth comments you want to share with them. Closing dates for the consultation is 23 January 2015, so please leave your comments here and the CQC incorporate your feedback when finalising how they inspect dental services.

WowOoo Mon 05-Jan-15 19:32:24

My family dentist is warm and friendly. She has a great manner with the kids and has been so great with them they actually look forward to their check ups.

What I look for is general cleanliness. I went to a place that was basically a bit grubby in the waiting area. In the actual dentist treatment room it didn't look clean at all. Really put me off and I am very glad I found another one.

CMOTDibbler Mon 05-Jan-15 19:45:30

We are lucky to be able to easily access NHS dentistry locally, and our dentist (there are several in the practice, but I have the feeling that the seniors don't do children and normal NHS work) is lovely, and we are able to get appointments.

In my parents area otoh, they can't get on an NHS list - which isn't normally a problem for them. But when my dad was diagnosed with an oral blistering condition and the specialist wanted him to have specific things done it was a real issue as the cost was horrendous.
Mum has dementia, and it is a problem for her now to access the dentist as they don't have a huge amount of patience for her. And her teeth are deteriorating as she can't/won't brush properly anymore.

HoneywithLemon Mon 05-Jan-15 20:40:44

Our family dentist is the local University practice. Distinctly no-frills, however, we appreciate the personal care from the dentist who always takes the time to explain any outstanding issues and treatment options if applicable. This is very important to me as I feel 100% confident that I can make an informed decision about treatment for myself and my kids.

Lariflete Mon 05-Jan-15 21:10:27

Our family dentist has been treating me since I was a baby and now is doing the same for DD and DS. He is brilliant, in that he "checks" their mouths every visit - even when they had no teeth, just so they could get used to the process.
He also, talks me through everything he does. So for example, he explained every step when he was doing a filling. He has taken the time to find out that this reassures me.
He is also very friendly and notes little pleasantries that he brings up next time we are in. It is a very personal service.

BlackeyedSantaStuckUpAChimney Tue 06-Jan-15 10:46:26

I would like my dentist to be aware that children with autism and spd do not like thier teeth cleaned and that cleaning them once per day is a massive achievement and may have resulted in several bitten fingers and being spat on.

Chippednailvarnish Tue 06-Jan-15 17:38:12

A clean practice is a must! I have also had an occasion that my dentist has diagnosed a dental condition needing antibiotics and sent me to my GP to get them.

AndHarry Tue 06-Jan-15 18:09:43

I've luckily found an excellent NHS dentist who is great with my 4 year-old son and took the time ovet several sessions to coax him into opening his mouth and telling her about how he looks after his teeth. She's also good at going through the various treatment options for my teeth. As with everything health-related, I've really appreciated the combination of a caring attitude and professional expertise from this dentist.

There are two improvements I can think of:

1) NHS funding of white fillings. I'm fortunate enough to be able to pay for them but people I know who can't afford to pay £40 a filling are very self-conscious of their grey fillings.

2) Allowing more expensive dental treatments to be paid for in monthly instalments.

Ladyface Tue 06-Jan-15 18:20:05

I've had a mixture of good and bad but generally have had to go private to get good care. Luckily I have been able to find the money for it.

About 2 years ago I bit into a sandwich and felt like my tooth had cracked. There was pain every time I bit down. My NHS dentist said there was nothing wrong and refused to x-ray so I went private. The private dentist could see it was cracked without even doing the x-ray but the x-ray did indeed show a crack and it was quickly fixed.

I also had to have a root canal redone after ten years of on and off problems which had been put down to sinus issues. "Foreign matter" was found in the tooth.

My NHS metal bridge is still going strong 20 years on! (Touch wood!)

IAmAPaleontologist Tue 06-Jan-15 18:32:43

a couple of years ago a new practice opened in the next village to us. Before that we were at a really impractical and not very friendly place that didn't seem to care at all. It was in the centre of town and up 2 flights of stairs with no lift and no effort to accommodate anyone who might struggle with that. Not the easiest with multiple children!
Our local surgery is clean, bright and friendly. The dentist is wonderful with children and very understanding of making appointments for the whole family and having appointments with several children sitting on your lap smile .
The only gripe really is that add pay off a group practice in a small village the dentist is not there every day yet they have continued to take on more and more patients. When it first opened or was so easy to get an appointment and the dentist was fab at squeezing you in of necessary eg when ds1 tried to knock his teeth out at school grin . Now you can't get an appointment for months, you get your reminder letter for a check up but can't get in for months sad .

scousadelic Tue 06-Jan-15 18:37:14

My DCs and I were patients at an NHS practice that decided to go private. Children would be continued as NHS patients for a while but I was asked to go onto Denplan

Over the years after the changeover I had several problems with molars and premolars (I'm from the age group where teeth were filled as routine when they came through leading to filling failure, bits breaking off, etc as I got older) and 3 were removed as the dentist said other treatment was not possible for them. Some time after this I developed pain in the left lower jaw but couldn't localise it to any one tooth, this worsened to the point the GP was concerned about trigeminal neuralgia but the dentist was really unhelpful, kept making appointments to fill or root fill a molar then cancelling it. Eventually (after about 3 months of pain) I insisted on a referral to a maxillofacial specialist who diagnosed a TMJ problem and asked the dentist to do a particular procedure on a tooth they believed was aggravating it, instead of this and without explanation, he removed the tooth

Apparently this is happening more and more. Schemes like Denplan are not an insurance policy as we think but the dentist gets the monthly fee every month on the understanding that, when needed, they will take the financial hit of the costs of treatment (effectively the dentist is self-insuring). A significant number are therefore opting for the cheapest options of tooth extraction rather than do the more expensive treatments like root canals. I had paid £25 each month which my dentist had accepted but when I needed treatment he was not willing to do the costlier option requested.

I have since changed dentist on the recommendation of the specialist and my new one is lovely but it cost me over £500 to get my teeth back to a good standard as several fillings needed replacing (the new dentist suspected fillings had been patched rather than replaced as I had been told) and I needed 3 crowns to rebalance my bite after all the extractions.

I had mistakenly assumed that private treatment with a dentist approved by a scheme like Denplan would be good, sadly for me it wasn't.

Older Tue 06-Jan-15 20:20:24

I'd like to see good patient information. Individually prepared (not detailed but just a survey) which targets actions patients can take to maintain their own health.

Cleanliness is a given surely? Costs and openness about their procedures displayed in practice.

howtodrainyourflagon Tue 06-Jan-15 20:56:15

We couldn't find an NHS dentist in the area so we had to go private. It's eye-wateringly expensive, and even costs for the children when they literally open their mouths for 30 seconds. Every time I go the waiting room is a bit plusher. The dental care is okay, but I don't feel like I can make informed decisions on my treatment. It's just "this is what you need: it's going to cost £650..." I had a filling a couple of years ago and wasn't given the option of white, despite the private dentist charging me £125. I feel as though I've been ripped off.

When I was a student I went to an NHS dentist who put in a whole load of fillings. Needless to say when I registered at the private dentist 2 years later he insisted on removing all of them and re-doing them himself. They can't both be in the right here.

I have finally (this week) found an NHS dentist in my home town and booked the three kids in for an appointment. Fingers crossed this one works out.

Maiyakat Tue 06-Jan-15 20:59:07

After I broke a tooth I managed to get an NHS emergency appointment quickly. However, they wouldn't do any treatment at that appointment and I was going to have to wait another 4 weeks to actually have anything done about it! I was in pain and struggling to eat. Thankfully I was able to find a private dentist that would see me as a one-off and could find the £100 to pay for this.

sharond101 Tue 06-Jan-15 21:19:29

I really like my Dentist. SHe is young with a friendly attitude and always takes the time to ask how I am in an interested fashion. My Husband used to see a Dentist close to his workplace until I realised everytime he went it was costing £15 for an NHS Consultation. Turns out he was having a polish and clean every time without being asked. Having moved to the same Dentist as I have he doesn't have that fee unless he asks for a polish and clean.

Hazchem Tue 06-Jan-15 21:22:46

I loved m y NHS dentist. She was friendly, honest, clear about her skills and where they were limited to my condition (peridental disease which is very aggressive), I had to have a lot of treatment including having a very tricky filling done, I was having to bring my under one with me as I didn't have anyone to look after him. During one trip my DS was getting very distressed and the dentist suggested I feed him while she finished. The relief at having a dentist supportive of breastfeeding enough to finish off a filling while her patient breastfeed. smile

Jcee Tue 06-Jan-15 22:10:44

I'm lucky to have found an NHS dentist - they are very few and far between in my area. My parents dentist has become private and everyone had to move onto denplan or leave, which is not ideal.

For me cleanliness, friendliness and appointment availability are important.

I only started visiting the dentist within the last 12 months in order to set a good example to my daughter and so that I could accompany her on appointments.

I was surprised that an apointment only seems to be a basic check up and I can't get a scale and polish unless I visit the on site private hygienist at £45 a visit!

The dentist only does check ups and any work which needs doing whereas cleaning/scale and polish is seen as a private treatment, which I find a bit bizarre.

Mrsmorton Tue 06-Jan-15 22:28:56

I'd like to ask whether the CQC (or anyone else) thinks it's important that the inspectors have a healthcare background (which they don't by and large) or at the least know a small amount about dentistry, NHS contracts and healthcare commissioning.

In my very humble opinion, I would suggest the answer to the above is "yes it is important".

sanfairyanne Tue 06-Jan-15 22:40:39

truthful options - if there is a better 'paid for' option eg braces, white fillings

actual good dentists (hard to find)

good 'bedside manner' with little kids

SisterMoonshine Tue 06-Jan-15 23:16:10

It's like 'Rogue Traders' out there!
After years of bad dentists, I've finally found one I trust and have signed all the family up with him.
I showed up nearly in tears and the receptionist was so lovely and reassurring.
Honestly, my teeth are so bad, you'd think I hadn't been to a dentist for years and I've actually been to several.

I need regular hygienist appointments and I will say that I wish they weren't so expensive.

I also am fed up with dentists trying to sell me implants.
A couple I've been to also have botox adverts on the walls... it makes it all seem more like a beauty enterprise for people with lots of money than a professional health practitioner.

NoArmaniNoPunani Tue 06-Jan-15 23:59:22

I'd like to ask whether the CQC (or anyone else) thinks it's important that the inspectors have a healthcare background (which they don't by and large) or at the least know a small amount about dentistry, NHS contracts and healthcare commissioning.

Very good question.

Becles Wed 07-Jan-15 00:01:11

Since the PCTs went, there is no longer anyone to monitor dentists' compliance with their contracts, to maintain their skill levels or set clear expectations of patient experience. When was the last time the CQC or NHS England carried out the mystery shopping to review or evaluate dentists; this provided hard evidence to support action by commissioners.

Just in my circle of friends, within the past year, there have been the following examples of dentists breaching their contracts left right and centre by telling patients:

*They will only see children on the NHS, adults must be private
*Refusing deep cleans which have been identified as a clinical need (acute gingivitis), as it is only possible on a private basis
*Telling patients that they need to come back in 1-2 months for follow up treatment (to continue the same course of treatment), but that the NHS will only pay for a visit every 1-2 years so the patient must continue privately
*Telling patients that although they have the skills in house to offer a treatment privately, it is not part of their NHS contract and the patient must either wait on a referral to hospital or go private (includes basic wisdom tooth removal)
*Telling a patient with a cracked back molar and difficulty chewing on that side of the mouth for over 7 months that there is no point trying to investigate or treat until the pain and discomfort gets worse.

We've compared notes and the average time we spend for a check up is between 3-7 minutes. This includes someone identified as having extensive periodontal disease with bleeding gums who was told to pay a private fee for a 'necessary' clean.

Given NHS England's very hands off approach to dental performance or quality management - which basically means that complaints are batted back to the practice and they have no PALS function to record, monitor and act on low level concerns before they escalate AND the inability of the GDC to respond to issues bordering on negligence when it comes to patient safety, where does the CQC think you can or should go when you know for a fact that the dental practice is in breach of their contact, has done an inadequate job of maintaining your oral health BUT you need to have access to an NHS dentist? Who is actually making sure that tax payers are getting what they are paying through the nose for?

TheHoneyBadger Wed 07-Jan-15 09:08:44

i think realistically nhs dentistry does not exist beyond check ups and extractions these days. if you need any real treatment and you don't want materials used that are banned in most countries then you have to pay - what i find most sad is that you cannot elect to pay for the materials difference but must pay for the whole treatment. that seems a little harsh, a top up fee of the difference in material costs would be fairer than saying ah well in that case the whole procedure is considered private.

it also seems any kind of preventative dental treatment is not available on the nhs though maybe that has changed since my last visit.

i find it really hard to get onto an nhs dental list anyway and confess i now get our teeth seen to mostly overseas. we'll be heading out soon to what i think of as my second home country where i can access excellent dental treatment at less than half the price it is available in this country but with the best materials and really good service. last time i was there i had two porcelain crowns fitted for the price it would have cost me to have one done here of a lesser a quality - had i had it on the nhs i would have been offered a grey metal thing to go over my tooth which is nice eh? grin

my charity would be Fair Shares Gloucestershire please.

GritStrength Wed 07-Jan-15 12:01:11

I looked for an NHS dentist and was delighted to find one with space a few miles from my home. Except once I was there and numb for the filling replacement needed I found I could barely communicate with him as his English wasn't great and was very heavily accented. I'm used to dealing with a variety of accents via work but I genuinely couldn't understand what he was saying which was a big problem when trying to communicate the anaesthetic hadn't fully worked! I've never been back and have gone private. So ability to communicate clearly with patients should be a basic.

Friends have also had some of the experiences referred to on this thread with dentists seeking to do the minimal on the NHS. This should very much be looked at.

TheHoneyBadger Wed 07-Jan-15 12:17:44

i've just remembered another nhs versus private menu where it was laid out to me that the root canal on nhs would involve less cleaning and preparation of the roots than if i had it done privately thus more risk of infection - hardly confidence inspiring.

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