Choosing between NHS & Private Dentistry
NHS & Private Dentistry – Which one to Choose?
Everyone at some time always has a question in their mind, whom should I go for my dental treatment – Private Dentist or NHS Dentist? Which is better and would best suit my need? In order to answer this, we have to understand what each of the systems entails and how they are different.
We know that everyone in the UK is entitled to NHS service which is subsidised by the government i.e NHS treatment is less expensive as government has paid to make it affordable and available to everyone. So in spite of having affordable dental care why would anyone chose to opt for private dentistry. There is a lot of confusion and a few of the common questions people have in mind are :
- How much is it going to cost me? Is NHS dental Work free?
- Who will provide better treatment?
- Does the NHS provide all treatments?
- Where can I be seen quickly?
- Does NHS offer emergency appointments t? Who to chose during a dental emergency – NHS or private dentist?
So how are the two different? What follows is a brief overview of some of the key distinguishing points and factors that separate NHS from Private dentistry in UK.
- Private dentist or dentistry can offer a wide range of cosmetic treatments but in NHS it available only on rare severe cases.
- The private treatment gives you complete freedom to uses high-quality material and has access to modern and latest technology as there is no funding restriction. The dental work not only focuses on the functional elements but also stresses the cosmetic side i.e that it’s aesthetically pleasing as well. Whereas on NHS dentistry they only focus on functional element and not on the cosmetic side
- With private dental treatment, you have the choice of convenience for booking an appointment when it suits you, be it late evening or weekends. You don’t get this convenience factor in NHS dentistry as they don’t work outside office hours
- For Private Dental work, you get booked for appointments very fast without much wait and they are also flexible with appointment times. Whereas it isn’t uncommon for NHS dentistry waiting lists to stretch on for weeks or sometimes even a month.
- In private dentistry, the appointments could be longer depending on the type of treatment where you can have the treatment at a more relaxed pace and spend more time with the dentist or hygienist without being rushed. By contrast, in NHS dentistry the dental team has a big list of people to cater to so they can’t spend more than a bare minimum time with each patient.
- Private dental work like dental implants, crown, bridge, or dentures are customised in private labs by experienced technicians who are not only good with their work but also flexible in returning the items quickly
- For dental emergency appointments, private dentists are extremely good and quickly available. However, finding an NHS dentist in a short time scale is relatively difficult
- NHS treatments are not free but subsidised. You will need to pay one of the three fixed band prices which cover most of the treatment in NHS list and will cost the same regardless of the extent of the work required. Whereas for Private dental work will cost will depend on how big or small the procedure is and its complexity.
- Even though dental work is a lot less expensive in NHS, the desired treatment should be a functional requirement and must be present on NHS list. Unlike private dentistry, it will not entertain patients wanting treatments for cosmetic reasons (eg teeth whitening, Invisalign)
- Patients undergoing dental work via NHS route get treated with the same care as they would if they went privately.
- As the NHS is public-funded the materials used are cost-effective. Also, unlike private dentistry, they are restricted by NHS budget to purchase new and expensive equipment’s and technology for their dental clinic
- As there is a long list of people wanting to be seen, the spaces are limited, and the waiting time to get an appointment if often from a few weeks to a month. By contrast, in Private you tend a get an appointment date with a no or shorter waiting not longer than a few days
- As government imposes limits on the amount of NHS treatment each dental clinic can offer so once a clinic reaches its NHS limit they may not be able to offer any more NHS treatment until the next financial year.
- In NHS dentistry patient recalls are as per govt guidelines so you may not always be eligible for checks or dental cleaning. In contact, Private dentistry your clinic will send you timely recalls for a routine check-up and oral hygiene appointments.
- In NHS dentistry teeth cleaning is provided for teeth and gum protection, not for removing stains or marks completely.
- Orthodontic treatment for patients over the age of 18 is usually not available on the NHS
- Certain treatments are not always available on the NHS eg. dental implants
- NHS dentist the patients across the board as treated relatively similar. Whereas in Private dentistry you can choose either the same dentistry who can do all kinds of treatment or you can choose different clinics and practitioners, in accordance with your requirements and preferences.
- You may also not be able to see more experienced dentists or specialists who choose to work outside the NHS
To sum up, NHS dentistry is affordable and is available for all UK residents but is only concerned with the health of your teeth so offers limited treatments and doesn’t cater to cosmetic treatments. The NHS budget is relatively small so in some places finding an NHS dentist locally who is taking new patients can be difficult at times.
Private dentistry even though isn’t free its has its benefits. You get a variety of treatments under one roof, you have a choice of dentist, less wait time, facility care, and results are also aesthetically driven. Also, it is also a fact now that private dentistry is becoming more affordable as private dental clinics are competing with each other to lure patients and often have discounts, special offers, free consultations, and even some free treatment along with other major work. They offer insurance plans, dental plans, and also financing options to help patients. The best way to keep costs at an absolute minimum is to of course maintain good oral health and keep your teeth and gums healthy.