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Frequently asked questions to a Dentist York

What is the difference between NHS and private dentistry?

Most family dentists offer both NHS and private treatment. Some treatments - like tooth whitening, for example - are only available privately, although the range of NHS treatments is quite broad. The main difference between NHS and private care is the materials used, such as filling materials and types of denture. Before you start a course of treatment, make sure you know whether you're being treated as an NHS or a private patient, as this may make a difference in the price you have to pay.

How much is private dental treatment?

Each dental practice sets their own private fees, these should be available from your dentist. Before you begin a course of treatment, ask your dentist for a written cost estimate before you commit to going ahead.

What treatments are available privately?

The range of treatments available privately is wider than those available on the NHS. The major treatments which are only available privately are teeth bleaching, white fillings and crowns on back teeth and implants.

Is my treatment really necessary?

Whether you are considering NHS or private treatment, you should feel comfortable discussing your options with your dentist. They are there to help you and will be happy to explain. If the dentist offers you a choice between treatments, ask them what the difference is, and, most importantly, what the end result will be. Don't agree to a course of treatment until you are totally happy.

Is private dental treatment better than NHS treatment?

Not necessarily. Often the difference between NHS and private dental work is in the materials used, like filling materials or even which technician makes the dentures. The range of treatments a dentist can offer privately is wider than what the NHS has to offer and you will probably find that the dentist spends more time with you if you are being treated privately. Ultimately, though, the choice is yours - whether you decide to opt for NHS or private care, you must feel comfortable with your dentist and with the treatment they recommend.

Is private dentistry expensive?

Private charges are set by the dentist and are usually 3 times greater than the cost of the same treatment (if available) than on the NHS. The main reasons for this higher price are due to no money being received from the government towards the cost of treatment, longer times spent on treatment, better materials and private pension contribution. When thinking about the fees charged by private dentists, remember those fees charged by other professionals such as solicitors and accountants.

Why is one dentist offering treatment cheaper than another?

The price for private treatment will often vary from dentist to dentist. This could be because one dentist has more experience in a certain field - like treating gum disease - or because they dedicate more time to each patient, or simply because their practice is in a different area. Because dentists operate like small businesses, they have to pay for all their own equipment, their staff and their premises, so if they work in an expensive area - like in the middle of a town - they may have to pass this cost on through their charges.

How can I pay for my dental treatment?

Most people pay for their dental treatment on a 'pay as you go' basis and some practices may ask for payment in advance for certain treatments. If you need to visit the dentist more regularly, then you might want to consider signing up to a payment plan. Sometimes these are run by the practice themselves or by an external company on behalf of the practice and just involve paying a certain amount each month. The best known example of this is Denplan.

Other schemes are also available which are individual to you, so you can take the plan with you if you decide to change dental practice. Another popular scheme is the 'cash plan', where you pay a certain amount each month and then you get 'cash back' after treatment. These plans - like HSA - often cover more than dental treatment, so they're well worth looking into.

Do dentists have to abide by a 'code of conduct'?

Most of the guidance regulating dentistry in the UK comes from the General Dental Council, the organisation that holds the Dentists Register. Guidelines on professional and personal conduct can be found in their Maintaining Standards guidance.

To find out more about the General Dental Council follow this link

How can I change my dentist?

Changing your dentist is relatively simple. All you need to do is find a dentist in your local area who is accepting new patients and register there. You can have copies of your records from your previous dentist forwarded to your new one, but there will be a charge.  

Can I take my records from my old dentist to my new dentist?

Although your new dentist will have to give you a full examination and create their own records, notes from your previous dentist might be useful. Although, for legal reasons, the previous dentist will have to keep a copy of your records, your new dentist can ask for them. You are also entitled to a copy of your records, subject to certain rules, although you may be charged a reasonable administration fee for copying records.

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