How to find and select a dentist/dental practice
It is a well known fact that you should look after your teeth. They are a major factor in our physical appearance. From meeting people for relationships to getting that job role in an interview, the health and look of your teeth are paramount.
There are also a number of health issues associated with bad teeth. Gum disease can be a serious problem and has been linked to a greater risk in developing heart disease and strokes. Oral cancer is also a potential issue and it is more likely to be diagnosed early by a dentist than yourself.
The next step in your quest to the perfect set of knashers is finding a dentist. There are thousands of dental practices in the UK and finding a good dentist will require some thought and effort on your part.
The first question you need to ask is whether you want to find an NHS dentist practice or are prepared to splash some more cash and go for a private dental practice. NHS Dentists are cheaper and their charges are fixed. The cost of going private depends on the treatment you need to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy. You will only ever be asked to pay one charge for each complete course of treatment, even if you need to visit your dentist more than once to finish it.
The NHS dental charges from 1 April 2011 are as follows:
Band 1 – £17.00 – This covers examination, diagnosis (eg X-rays), advice on how to prevent future problems and a scale and polish if needed.
Band 2 course of treatment – £47.00, includes band 1 , plus fillings, root canal work or extraction.
Band 3 course of treatment – £204.00, bands 1 and 2 above, plus crowns, dentures and bridges.
At an NHS dentist you will always know exactly how much you will be expected to pay at the beginning of treatment. Perfect if you are on a budget. This treatment can also be free if you are pregnant /just had a baby or on certain benefits or low income.
If you prefer a private dentist, the charges will vary from practice to practice and each will set their own charges. Currently, the General Dental Practitioners Association (GDPA) advice is that a check-up should cost from £25 to £78, a small metal filling around £25 and a crown £250 to £450.
The private dentist has become more popular in recent years due to a lack of NHS practices with spaces and a trend towards more cosmetic dentistry that is not available on the NHS. The perfect dentist practice would probably be one of the few that offer both NHS for the routine dental care and private for more cosmetic care such as adult retainers or veneers.
A good place to start looking for your dentist would be to ask family, friends or work colleagues for the name of their dentist. You can also try the Yellow Pages or Telephone Directory under dentists.
If you text ‘dentist’ to 64746 or ‘NHSGO’ from your mobile phone, the NHS choices services will send you up to three text messages with Dentists that are nearest to your location. You can also search on the NHS choices website for dentists according to name, location or postcode. You can also specify dental practices that are currently accepting new NHS patients. The British Dental Association (BDA) also have a database to search the details of their 6155 members using your postcode.
Whatever option you choose, its important for you to be happy and confident that your chosen dentist will provide the best service for you and your teeth.
This article was written by Lindsey Neil.