Private Dentist versus NHS Dentist: Which is Right For You?
"Private dentist... NHS dentist... Private dentist... NHS dentist..." - you ponder the options in your head, but do you have full information regarding the very important decision you are about to make? At Bamboo, we strongly believe that if you are given the correct information regarding; costs of dental treatment, where to get the best treatment, and the overall options available to you, then you will be much more likely to take action towards keeping your teeth strong and healthy in the future. It is too often the case that information regarding NHS and private dentists is difficult to digest. This potentially leaves many people unaware of what to do when they are in need of dental treatment. This article aims to give you everything you need to know so that you can make a confident and informed decision as to which route to take the future of your dental care down - Private Dental Care or NHS Dental Care?
If you are interested in Private Dental care after reading this, please contact us HERE.
Why is Private Dental Care More Expensive than NHS?
It is important to understand that dentistry in England and Wales is split into two separate sections - NHS and Private. NHS dental care is subsidised by the government. This means that some of the cost of looking after your teeth has already been paid for you by the government. As a result, your NHS treatment is less expensive for you than it would have otherwise been. On the other hand we have treatment from a private dentist. In this case, the patient must fully cover the costs themselves be it through their own finances, a finance plan or dental insurance. This key difference between the two options goes some way to explaining why there is an increased cost to visiting a private dentist. However, there are advantages to be gained that, for most people, easily outweigh the extra cost to the patient.
Six Key Points
1. You Don't Need to Register
Since 2006, patients have not been required to register with any particular dentist. Contrary to visiting GP's, in Wales, you do not need to be registered with a dentist to receive dental treatment! This gives you the freedom to choose the dentist that is right for you.
2. No Need to Worry About Your Dental Records
If you choose to move to a new dentist for some treatment then you need not worry about who has your dental records. It is rare that your past records will be needed, however if so, they can be easily accessed from your previous dentist.
3. NHS Dentistry is Not Free (usually): It is Subsidised.
Any person living in Wales is eligible for NHS dental care. Generally, you will need to pay one of three fixed price bands. There are some scenarios in which you may be eligible for free care, however, this is only under special circumstances. It is also important to note that not all treatments are covered under NHS dentistry.These treatments will be available, however, from your local private dentist. It is often the case that people wish to stick with just one dentist that they trust and have become comfortable with. For those who currently choose NHS treatment, this may not be possible for the reasons mentioned above. The fact that ALL of your treatment can be done by just one private dentist is a big advantage for those suffering from dental phobia who need to feel comfortable in their environment whilst receiving treatment.
4. NHS Appointments Are Out There!
The budget for NHS dentistry is fairly small overall. This can mean that you may have difficulty finding an appointment when you try to search locally. This can mean, for those opting for NHS treatment, a lot of effort will be required on your part to find an NHS dentist to give you treatment. There are tools online that can help you with finding an NHS dentist and it is very much suggested that you look for dentists not only local to your home but near to your work too. Expanding the size of your search region greatly increases the chances of you finding an NHS dentist.
5. Dental Emergency? Pick a Private Dentist!
The difficulty you may have in finding an NHS dentist in a short time scale can mean only one thing. If you have a dental emergency, go to a private dentist! Luckily, private dentists are extremely good with emergency treatment. For example, Bamboo Dental in Cardiff are open 6 days a week in an effort to help support those needing treatment fast. Unfortunately, we are currently unable to take on new patients for emergencies.
6. Private Dentistry is Becoming More Affordable
A private dentist is effectively a business that is being run by the head dentist. As with all businesses, private dentists are competing with each other. This can be done through the quality of the service as well as through price competition and special offers granted to new and existing patients. Most dentists operate with both a private and NHS side. Bamboo Dental are now fully private. The prices for private dental treatment are often only marginally more expensive than for NHS treatment. This means that, as a patient, you will gain all of the benefits available from having a private dentist for very little extra cost! In addition to this, there are many 0% finance options available to those looking for a monthly payment plan rather than paying for their private dental fees upfront.
NHS Dentist Care
NHS dentistry is only concerned with the health of your teeth. Any cosmetic treatments such as dental veneers or teeth straightening solutions such as; Invisalign and Six Month Smiles are not included under the NHS three band system. The most common NHS treatments include:
- Check Ups
Price of NHS Dental Treatment
The price you will pay for NHS treatment in Wales is split into three bands based on the level of complexity related to the treatments in question. We will go through the three bands below to give you an idea of the costs involved for each type of NHS dental treatment.
Band 1 | 14.70
The first band has a set price of 14.70 and is suitable for the following treatments:
- Basic scale and polish
- Examination (case assessment and report)
- Advice, diagnosis and treatment planning
- X-rays and reports
- Instruction in the prevention of dental and oral disease
- Marginal correction of fillings
- Adjustments to and easing of dentures and orthodontic appliances
Band 2 | 47.00
The second band has a set price of 47.00 and is suitable for the following treatments:
- Advanced scale and polish
- Permanent fillings
- Extraction of teeth
- Transplantation of teeth
- Oral surgery such as removal of cyst, buried root, unerupted tooth, impacted tooth
Band 3 | 203.00
Band 3 for NHS dental care has a set price of 203.00 and is suitable for the following treatments:
- Full or partial dentures
- Orthodontic treatment
- Other custom made appliances
Some Patients Are Entitled to Free NHS Care
If you happen to fall into one of the following categories then you will be entitled to free NHS dental care.
- You are under 18, or are a full-student under the age of 19.
- You are expecting a baby, or have had a baby in the last 12 months.
- You are named on a Tax Credit NHS Exemption Certificate.
- You are named on an NHS HC2 certificate
Another thing to note is that if you are under 25 years of age or if you are 60 or over, then you are entitled to free dental examinations in Wales.
Private Dentist Care
Treatment from a private dentist includes all types of services from dental hygiene guidance to cosmetic veneers. There are several advantages to going private and these should all be considered when making your decision.
Why Opt For a Private Dentist?
If you enter conversations about private dental care then you will often come across a stigma that it is just too expensive. However, the price of private dentist treatment has fallen in recent years and is now more affordable than ever. There has been a 20% increase in cosmetic dental work carried out in the last 4 years as more and more Brits start to understand what exactly is possible in the private dentistry industry. Not only is private dentistry more accessible but there has been an increase in those seeking a more attractive smile.
Quality of Care
A massive factor influencing many to move from NHS care to private care is the quality of treatment on offer. Britain has a pool of very highly trained private dentists operating at the peak of their professions and with cutting edge equipment. New innovations are entering the market every year. These highly advanced treatments require special training that is only utilised with private dental treatments such as; teeth whitening, teeth straightening and cosmetic veneers.
Private Treatment is Surprisingly Affordable
Cutting edge treatments are naturally quite expensive. Especially those complex treatments requiring years of additional training for the dentist involved. Some treatments also make use of expensive processes and materials which have to be factored into the cost. However, most general private dental care is very affordable, easily accessible, and not drastically different in price compared to NHS treatment. Please see a list of private dental care prices offered from Bamboo Dental so that you see how affordable the general dentistry treatments are related to NHS treatments.
Paying for Private Dental Treatment
There are various ways that you can pay for your private treatment and can differ depending on which private dentist you choose to go with.
There are several large brands that you can purchase dental insurance from. These include but are not limited to; Bupa, Cigna and Allianz. A fair price for this is approximately 20 per month and is often provided to you as a benefit from your employer. This type of private dentist insurance will cover at least 70% of your treatment costs and in many cases will cover the full cost.
Most private dentists will be able to help you apply for a medical loan. These are commonly interest free and acts as a way for you to spread expensive costs over a number of months or years.
Practice Dentist Plans
It is common practice for a private dentist to offer their own health plans. One example is Denplan which has a cost of 15-25 per month. These type of plans encourage patients to regularly visit the dentist for check ups. As a consequence, the dentist is able to spot any problems before they get serious and therefore keep costs down in a way that results in a more affordable monthly plan for their patients! Bamboo offer a similar dentist plan called Bamboo Dental Care which is even less expensive than Denplan.
Most private treatment carries a quality guarantee. Bamboo offer a personal 5 year guarantee on cosmetic treatments which is a key indicator in the confidence that the head dentist, Dr Dan, has in his ability to deliver only the best dental treatment.
NHS Dental Care Summary
NHS Dentist Pros
You pay a fixed fee of either; 13.50, 43.00 or 185.00 depending on the treatment that you require.
If you come back for more treatments within the same band, within a two month window, they are still included in the cost you've paid.
You may be eligible for free NHS treatment if you fall under certain criteria.
NHS Dentist Cons
Lack of availability.
Treatments only to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy - no cosmetic treatments.
Due to time restraints, you may not always get preventative care, as focus will be on fixing current problems.
Private Dental Care Summary
Private Dentist Pros
Wide choice of treatments including everything from fillings and crowns to cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening and veneers.
More time spent with the dentist - the dentist can often spend more time with each patient as they are not under pressure to meet NHS targets.
Private dentists can spend more time on preventing future issues rather than just curing problems.
Most private dentists offer finance options and payment plans to help you spread the cost of your treatments. At Bamboo Dental, we have 0% monthly packages up to 24 months.
No registration required.
Private Dentist Cons
- Comparatively more expensive (not by much) although many private dentists offer incentives and discount plans to make the cost more competitive.
- No free treatment for those under special circumstance (as with NHS). However, some free treatment may be offered in promotions that your private dentist may be running. For example, Bamboo Dental offer a free take-home teeth whitening with any Six Month Smiles or Invisalign treatment!
If you are interested in Private Dental care after reading this, please contact us HERE.