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AIBU?

To ask who has an NHS dentist etc?

163 replies

girlfriend44 · 25/01/2024 17:43

I am Lucky to have a dentist?
Would be really worried otherwise. Reports that nobody is taking anyone on NHS?
If you haven't got a dentist? Are you worrying about it?
What are people doing ?

OP posts:
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Am I being unreasonable?

46 votes. Final results.

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You are being unreasonable
28%
You are NOT being unreasonable
72%
MadisonAvenue · 26/01/2024 12:24

HunterHearstHelmsley · 25/01/2024 18:57

There must be a glut of NHS dentists in the West Midlands! My sister has just signed herself and children up too. It's madness how other areas are struggling.

I’m in the West Midlands too and have an NHS dentist. Our adult sons are with the same practice, my husband is with a different practice but it’s also NHS.

Mine was absolutely brilliant last Summer when I had an abscess. I had two emergency appointments, one when I called at 8.30am and was given an appointment for 50 minutes later and the other when I called at the end of the day and was given one for 8.40am the following morning.

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1984Winston · 26/01/2024 12:55

Me and my two children have one and I'm very grateful every time I go, I am expecting them to stop at some point, there's no dentists taking on new NHS patients in my town

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afkonholidaynearleek · 26/01/2024 13:09

I can't get into an NHS dentist, as the waiting lists anywhere near me at 2+ years.

I just pay for a check up, it's around £90 per appointment. I've not yet done any other procedures, but I do need to have a tooth removed and a dental implant inserted due a chronic gum issue. That'll cost me about £2,500, I think.

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Bbq1 · 26/01/2024 13:18

Had the same dental practice for around 20 years. The three of us are at the same dentist. NHS dentist but we pay - except ds.

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OneTC · 26/01/2024 13:34

I needed emergency work and went to a local dentist privately and instead he processed me as NHS and has carried on doing so

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CustardySergeant · 26/01/2024 13:51

OneTC · 26/01/2024 13:34

I needed emergency work and went to a local dentist privately and instead he processed me as NHS and has carried on doing so

That's incredible!

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Willyoujustbequiet · 26/01/2024 13:54

My children do, 5 mins up the road.

I did have but prefer my private one.

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VestaTilley · 26/01/2024 13:57

I’ve got one, as has DH and DS. When we moved to our new city in the south east there weren’t any taking new patients, but that cleared up within a couple of months and we registered easily.

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kitsuneghost · 26/01/2024 13:58

CookiesandCreamTea · 25/01/2024 17:52

All of the good NHS dentists go private in my experience.

I get the same dentist whether I pay privately or go NHS
The only difference is no cancellations and quicker appointments
I don't think they go anywhere. They just prioritise private payers

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WhatWouldTheDoctorDo · 26/01/2024 13:59

Went private during covid as it was the only way to maintain treatment I was getting. Very fortunate we could afford to, I would probably have lost some teeth if I hadn't. DC are still nhs (with the same dentist) but could come in with me during the pandemic because we were the same household and my payments covered the PPE costs that the limited nhs offering at the time didn't cover.

I've stayed private. Our dentist is excellent, and I get great service and care. I have numerous issues, so I'm very grateful I can afford it (we have a monthly plan to cover 6-monthly check ups and quarterly hygienist visits).

A colleague told me that since the Scottish govt introduced free examinations, she now only gets a check up every 12 months instead of 6, and no scale and polish included. She's had an issue arise in the year between appointments, which will require more work (and cost) than if it had been caught six months earlier.

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KnittedCardi · 26/01/2024 14:14

It's an interesting economic puzzle. Most other countries don't have universal dental care, other than for children. Adults pay privately or have private cover. So, as more people pay the going rate, that rate goes down. So in countries where you get fab cheap dental care, it's all private!

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Lollygaggle · 26/01/2024 16:11

KnittedCardi · 26/01/2024 14:14

It's an interesting economic puzzle. Most other countries don't have universal dental care, other than for children. Adults pay privately or have private cover. So, as more people pay the going rate, that rate goes down. So in countries where you get fab cheap dental care, it's all private!

Actually it's not quite as simple as that.

The cost of providing dentistry in the U.K. is far,far higher than in most countries . Eg cost of indemnity (malpractice insurance ) is a couple of hundred in many countries and will start from around £6000 a year going into five figures if you carry out implants, sinus lifts etc. A dentist is more likely to be sued in the U.K. than anywhere else in the world .

In many/most countries dental nurses, technicians , hygienists are not regulated , do not have to pay registration fees and carry out CPD each year to remain registered .

Dental practices in the U.K. are thirty times more regulated than in anywhere else in Europe . Everything from pressurised vessels , CQC inspections, water and waste regulations to data protection and more. All of which has a substantial cost . More than 50 different organisations have the right to inspect a dental practice .

It will cost a minimum of £140 an hour per room to run a practice in a cheap area doing mostly NHS dentistry .

The rate of dental inflation, ie what it costs to provide dentistry , is around 10% per year.

The problem is , as vets have discovered , people have no idea of the real cost of providing medical services . A NHS dentist gets nothing ,other than what they earn when someone is sitting in the chair to cover the costs of running a practice . In fact , in quite a few practices , what a patient pays is less than what the practice earns from a proceedure as their UDA value ( a measure of dental activity) is less than the patient contribution .

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KreedKafer · 26/01/2024 16:17

I've had NHS dentists my whole life (so 47 years). I've never had any private dental treatment.

I've never had any trouble finding an NHS dentist in any area I've ever lived. Perhaps I've just been lucky.

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StrawberryJellyBelly · 26/01/2024 16:31

My dad had dental insurance but went over to a new NHS practice when they advertised they were opening and accepting new patients. All was well for the first year but it’s now become almost impossible to be seen. For eg an appt to have a broken tooth treated was going to take 8 months when booked in Feb because he wasn’t in pain.

Just recently he was here with us on holiday and we had all of his dental work done for him and now we’re seriously considering bringing him back for a double knee replacement in a few months. It’s either that or accept 5 years on a UK NHS waiting list. And it’s like he said - I could be dead by then.

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Mumof2NDers · 26/01/2024 18:32

StrawberryJellyBelly · 26/01/2024 16:31

My dad had dental insurance but went over to a new NHS practice when they advertised they were opening and accepting new patients. All was well for the first year but it’s now become almost impossible to be seen. For eg an appt to have a broken tooth treated was going to take 8 months when booked in Feb because he wasn’t in pain.

Just recently he was here with us on holiday and we had all of his dental work done for him and now we’re seriously considering bringing him back for a double knee replacement in a few months. It’s either that or accept 5 years on a UK NHS waiting list. And it’s like he said - I could be dead by then.

I can’t tell how many times I’ve heard this….being made to wait with broken teeth or in pain. It infuriates me!!
I’ve been in dentistry for 36 years. If a patient calls us in pain they are given an appointment that day in a spot we reserve for emergencies. If the reserved spots have all gone we offer “sit and wait” and very rarely keep anyone longer than 30 minutes.
If we’ve had cancellations on any given day we will even see people who aren’t our patients (privately) if they have problems and don’t have a dentist or their own dentist can’t/won’t fit them in.

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Ellie525 · 26/01/2024 18:38

Im private (none taking on NHS for years here) and pay about £12 a month. But they registered my child under NHS immediately so worth it for us.

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Lollygaggle · 26/01/2024 18:55

Mumof2NDers · 26/01/2024 18:32

I can’t tell how many times I’ve heard this….being made to wait with broken teeth or in pain. It infuriates me!!
I’ve been in dentistry for 36 years. If a patient calls us in pain they are given an appointment that day in a spot we reserve for emergencies. If the reserved spots have all gone we offer “sit and wait” and very rarely keep anyone longer than 30 minutes.
If we’ve had cancellations on any given day we will even see people who aren’t our patients (privately) if they have problems and don’t have a dentist or their own dentist can’t/won’t fit them in.

I would guess that your practice is not predominantly NHS.

Those practices that are reliant on NHS have to work at a pace that they cannot leave large toothache spots "just in case" and the number of people who regard a NHS practice as their practice will be far,far higher than a private practice.

A sit and wait appointment relies on someone not turning up or something taking a lot shorter time than it should. In most NHS practices where each dentist is treating thirty plus patients a day often the dentists and nurses don't have time to go to the toilet and often will work into lunch etc so having someone sit and wait would potentially mean they are not seen or at least will wait considerably longer than 30 minutes .

When I worked in the NHS I had around three times the number of patients as when I was mostly private. Once converted to private we did have booked out toothache spots because the number of patients and renumeration meant we were no longer working like demented hamsters on a wheel and had time to offer a far better service that meant we were no longer killing ourselves.

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Milkand2sugarsplease · 26/01/2024 19:03

I've got an nhs dentist I've been with since I was a child. They've always been great and my husband and children now go too.

Ivv be have noticed recently that they're pushing the private options on to you more now however - ie, fillings "it's £x for an nhs metal one or £y if you want a white private one" - can be asked several times in a visit.

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Mumof2NDers · 26/01/2024 19:47

Lollygaggle · 26/01/2024 18:55

I would guess that your practice is not predominantly NHS.

Those practices that are reliant on NHS have to work at a pace that they cannot leave large toothache spots "just in case" and the number of people who regard a NHS practice as their practice will be far,far higher than a private practice.

A sit and wait appointment relies on someone not turning up or something taking a lot shorter time than it should. In most NHS practices where each dentist is treating thirty plus patients a day often the dentists and nurses don't have time to go to the toilet and often will work into lunch etc so having someone sit and wait would potentially mean they are not seen or at least will wait considerably longer than 30 minutes .

When I worked in the NHS I had around three times the number of patients as when I was mostly private. Once converted to private we did have booked out toothache spots because the number of patients and renumeration meant we were no longer working like demented hamsters on a wheel and had time to offer a far better service that meant we were no longer killing ourselves.

We are mostly NHS. We book out 20 minutes am and 20 minutes pm. Sometimes the slots get filled with treatment days before sometimes they don’t.
We see average 25 to 30 patients a day.
We work hard to stay on time but also feel we have a duty to our patients in pain.
Patients that are offered sit and wait are always seen.
We run into lunch and I often wait hours to go to the toilet. But I go home at the end of the day satisfied that we’ve done our best.
We have worked together for 36 years so work extremely efficiently together.

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TheGoogleMum · 26/01/2024 19:49

Yes I've had one for about 10 years

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Lollygaggle · 26/01/2024 20:04

Mumof2NDers · 26/01/2024 19:47

We are mostly NHS. We book out 20 minutes am and 20 minutes pm. Sometimes the slots get filled with treatment days before sometimes they don’t.
We see average 25 to 30 patients a day.
We work hard to stay on time but also feel we have a duty to our patients in pain.
Patients that are offered sit and wait are always seen.
We run into lunch and I often wait hours to go to the toilet. But I go home at the end of the day satisfied that we’ve done our best.
We have worked together for 36 years so work extremely efficiently together.

Edited

The other factor then is are you in an area of high needs?

I worked in one of the areas of the U.K. with the worst dental health. In the days when we were allowed to bring people in for 6 month check ups we closed our books , were able to stabilise our patients and still struggled to fit everyone in for toothaches .

Now in our area part of the KPIs (performance indicators ) means that dentists are penalised for bringing in too many people in more than once a year. There is a terrific decline in gum and tooth health ( diet changes during covid etc) even amongst regular patients so courses of treatment are taking longer to complete. It is not unusual for someone to come in needing 10plus fillings , kids are coming in needing multiple extractions and fillings .

Waiting lists for children needing urgent general anaesthetic extractions is 18 months to two years , whilst waiting for treatment all come to practices for emergency appointments because community and hospital are overwhelmed .

My colleagues still working on the NHS are having 20 to 30 phone calls a day from toothache patients . They cannot cope and receptionists are leaving because of abuse and violence they are facing.

In the southwest of England some practices have had their contracts changed to emergency treatment only, all their regular patients have to seek routine care elsewhere because there are no other resources to sort out the floods of people in pain .

In our area 20 minute toothache appointments twice a day would not even scratch the surface , the only toothache service available locally for thousands of people is a clinic that , by appointment only, sees 10 people on a Saturday and Sunday . Everything else is the ever dwindling number of NHS practices or private.

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CocteauTwin · 26/01/2024 20:48

I have been going to the same practice as a NHS patient for several years, after my previous dentist went all private. I'm in Scotland and get free check ups every 6 months (this has recently changed to annually, however my dentist wants to see me more often than that). I don't get much treatment but if I need a filling I get it done privately to get a white one. I also see the hygienist privately. The dentist I see has changed a few times, generally the one doing NHS work is a young graduate, but that doesn't bother me at all. I know I'm very lucky, the state of NHS dentistry is a disgrace.

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QuickDraining · 26/01/2024 21:15

Probably similar story as many. Avoided the dentist during Covid, got thrown off the list. Then had an emergency involving two broken teeth. And couldn't get it rectified. Tried to get an NHS dentist. 8 months later finally had the teeth out. Costing me a fortune and crippling me financially.

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PurplePansy05 · 26/01/2024 21:18

I do, I have for years. However, most of them in my practice are shit, they don't care and do less than a bare minimum and I still have to pay.

So I have my check ups (very rare post-Covid, may I add) and if I want things done properly, I pay privately. It's a nightmare, dentistry is in an appalling state.

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Pixiedust49 · 26/01/2024 21:22

I have an NHS dentist. The dental practice also has private patients ( my DH is one) and we all see the same dentists in the same rooms with the same facilities 🤷🏻‍♀️

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