Is There Much Difference Between NHS and Private Dentist?

Is There Much Difference Between NHS and Private Dentist?

Is There Much Difference Between NHS and Private Dentist?

We are currently facing a dental crisis in the UK. More than 2000 NHS-providing dentists left the health service last year. At the same time, we are faced with long patient waiting lists and staff shortages.

In 2022 34% of adults in England had been able to see a dentist in the preceding two years. These problems are seriously affecting the number of patients that are able to get the help they need.

As a result of these issues, more and more people are choosing private practices over NHS ones. While some of these problems remain the same whether in private or NHS practices they are not as rampant in private dental practices.

NHS and Private Dentist

What are the differences between NHS and private dentistry?

All NHS dental practices have a fixed budget that they must work within and it usually comes with limitations such as that the practice can only be open Monday to Friday, 9 to 5.

Some are entitled to free dental treatment on the NHS. This includes:

  • People under 18.
  • People being treated in an NHS hospital.
  • Pregnant people.
  • People on low-income benefits.

If you go to an NHS dental practice you are going to have to pay for some of your treatments. This includes emergency treatments. There are some treatments on the NHS that you would not have to pay for like getting your dentures repaired or getting stitches removed.

You can only get treatments on the NHS that are deemed by your dentist to be necessary. Check-ups, x-rays, extractions and fillings are all included in this.

Cosmetic treatments generally are not available on the NHS. Rarely dental implant treatments can be performed on the NHS if they are medically necessary.

You can also get braces on the NHS provided that you are under 18. You must also qualify and be on a waiting list first. How necessary braces are is decided by an orthodontist. The orthodontist will use the Index of Orthodontic Treatment (IOTN) to decide this.

The IOTN grades on the dental concerns, need for treatment for health reasons and need for treatment for aesthetic reasons. This is the only way to get braces on the NHS.

At a private dentist, you will pay for everything but you will also have access to much more than you would at an NHS dental practice. This includes hygiene appointments, check-ups and cosmetic treatments like veneers and teeth whitening and other things like setting you up with a great orthodontist more quickly.

You can take the time with your dentist to set up bespoke treatment plans that will work best for you for what you want to achieve. This is because private dental practices do not have to operate on a fixed budget.

What are the differences between NHS and private dentistry?

Why do people go to private dentists?

There are many reasons to choose a private dental practice:

  • Wait times for appointments are shorter.
  • More flexibility for appointment times – for example, evening appointments, weekend appointments, and appointments outside of regular office hours.
  • More flexibility for emergency treatments.
  • In general, with a private dentist, you will be able to have more time. This is great as it means you can treat immediate issues and apply preventative measures.
  • Higher quality of care because there are no funding restrictions on private surgeries.
  • Wider variety of treatment options (e.g. cosmetic treatments).
  • More access to treatments that are not offered by all NHS practices (for example, dental implants or veneers).
  • More access to dental specialists (including orthodontists, periodontists and endodontists.)
  • More easily accessible for nervous patients as specific services such as sedation are available.
  • A private practice will have fewer patients registered at it than an NHS practice. This means more attention for you as a patient and better customer service.
  • More cosmetic treatments are available than on the NHS (e.g. lip fillers).
  • You can often pay with payment plans that are set up to suit you. This way you do not have to worry about paying for everything all at once.
  • Private dentists have more time with you and as a result, your waiting room will not be as busy and will be much more relaxed which is especially important if you are someone who gets nervous at the dentist.
  • Your minor inconveniences (such as breaking your dentures) will be solved and sorted much more quickly as you can get an appointment much faster.
  • You will receive better aftercare as your dentist can take the time to offer you more specific advice for you.
  • More access to cutting-edge, advanced dental technology and equipment (e.g. 3D scanning to custom-make retainers for a patient’s mouth.)
  • You will be guaranteed that you can see the same dentist each time. This means you will become more comfortable with coming to the dentist and you will be known on a more personal level by your dentist helping them to meet your individual needs.
  • Private laboratories have a much quicker turnaround.
  • You will be supporting a local business by going to a private dental practice as they are normally independently owned.
Why do people go to private dentists?

NHS dental costs vs private dentist fees: what’s the difference?

If you are not someone who is able to get free dental care on the NHS then the cost of your treatment will be subsidised by the government. The way this world depends on where you live in the UK.

If you live in Scotland you will be required to pay 80% of the cost of your treatment. If you live in England or Wales the treatments fall in a pricing system that consists of three bands.

Usually private dental care costs more than NHS dental care as you can access a much larger variety of services. Prices between different practices will vary so it is best to inquire about pricing on a practice-to-practice basis if you choose to go private.

How much do private dentists cost?

So, yes, prices are higher than NHS prices and they vary between practices but we can give you an idea of what Didsbury Dental Practices prices look like to help guide you.

  • Examinations from £45
  • Hygiene appointments from £64
  • Fillings from £50
  • Teeth Whitening from £95

A key thing to always remember is that you can set up payment plans with a private dental practice. We can personalise these for you to suit your finances.

Our top priority is making sure that you get the care that you need, nobody should be left without proper dental care.

Private dentists will also likely recommend that you look around at other pricing for the same treatment if you are unsure. This is a great easy to educate yourself and you can feel more confident in being a part of your dental treatments.

In a private practice, because you are able to have more time with your dentist, you will be able to understand much more about your treatment options as well as just having more choices. You can have your dentist walk you through everything so that you can feel totally secure in the decisions you are making.

Having this control over your own treatment is great it can put you way more at ease with trusting your dentist and feeling comfortable in a dental practice.

This is something to be aware of if you are someone who is particularly nervous at the dentist. You will not get the same amount of time with an NHS dentist no matter how much they may want to give you.

Emergencies are also a big thing to consider. There are 24-hour private practices that can help you any time, day or night. This just does not exist in the NHS because of the restrictions they face.

How much do private dentists cost?

Overall we think private practices can offer such a huge variety of treatments and services to you that the NHS, unfortunately, cannot, making them a great choice.

We hope this article has answered the question ‘Is there much difference between NHS and private dentists?’

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