Grin and bear it?

Not a bad set of teeth, granted it’s no Hollywood smile, but considering the abuse they’ve put up with over the years they are in pretty good stead.

I get the occasional toothache as you would expect but nothing prepared me for the shock I received when going to the dentist recently, they deduced that two teeth would need removing.  One being an impacted wisdom tooth that a previous dentist would only remove it if caused me pain (it’s there on the bottom left of picture – or bottom right if you go by the L and R on the photo)  it’s horizontal, it;’s just a bit lazy and decided to take a nap and never woke up, happy being snug inside my gums.

The dentist who suggested the removal of two teeth whilst a private dentist also offers NHS treatment.   I am an advocate of the NHS, they do a wonderful job in medicine but their dental service is chaotic and unworkable.

After being refered to the hospital to arrange a surgery date, the hospital doctor said I need another two teeth removed, four in total.   So after seeing two doctors, I would soon be four teeth lighter although with no damage to my bank balance.   At no point were any remedial solutions suggested to me to resolve these, even by the dentist who also did private work.

The NHS rules state that dentists offering NHS treatment must follow three price bands, from  approx. £16.50, £49 and £198.  This ranges form the cheapest covering check ups and x-rays, to intermediate covering fillings and extractions, to the full price covering all the previously mentioned work plus root canals, bridges and crowns.  The maximum they can charge being £198 must include all work diagnosed  in your initial assessment.   My dentists assessment failed to mention any of the work I needed to remedy my problems but included just one crown at £198 or £600 private fee, it was up to me to choose which option, he was quite clear that NHS work would be rushed and using poor quality materials.  What annoyed me most though was that knowing he should be listing all the work done he had only written down one crown, this was over a tooth with a cavity, so there was no plans to clean the root out and solve any infection, but simply to crown it locking any infection inside to merrily eat away at your roots and gums.   But also, what of the other work I needed?  I gathered this was the scam, I would pay for this and on my next visit he would complete a new assessment so he can get £200 again and so on until the work is done.

Perplexed by this treatment I sought a second opinion from a private dentist, in minutes he completely rejected what I had been told before and said every one of my teeth (barring the impacted tooth if it hurts) could be saved.   He questioned if I was offered root canal treatment which I replied no, he seemed shocked but also not surprised.

I have come to understand there is a points system in place, every treatment has some points and once a dentist uses them up they cannot claim any more money back.   It so happens, root canals have some of the highest points making it impossible for a dentist to offer on the NHS else they would be working for nothing.   unfortunately they don;t tell you this, but tell you the tooth would have to be removed, they don;t give most people the option of private work as most cannot afford it if going on the NHS, this is the reality of it, pay for the work or have your tooth removed.

I can understand the dentists predicament, they cannot afford to work for nothing if the Government do not reimburse their work, but why are their hands tied, why isn’t this public knowledge. Why wasn’t I told my teeth can be saved but it would cost so much, not assume as I went for NHS treatment that I wold have to go straight for extraction

I am lucky I can find a way to pay for the costs, it will be a struggle and blow any plans of saving anything or holidaying this year but if the work needs doing then it takes precedence.

Is being of good health now just a preserve of the wealthy?  Something we must aspire too and not expect?

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