What are the differences between NHS and private dentistry?

Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

Following Government guidelines, the surgery has now reopened. We are initially prioritising those with the most urgent dental needs, with a view to resume routine dental care as soon as we can.

We are seeing patients by appointment only, please continue to call us for advice and support.

 

Although our practice has reopened please note it will not be business as usual. The treatments you are offered may be different to those you received before, depending on staff and personal protection equipment ( PPE ) available. It will take some time before services return to what you previously experienced as normal. Please be patient with us while we work towards resuming normal dental services in a safe environment.

 

You may see some changes when it is time for your next appointment. We made these changes to help protect our patients and staff. For example:

 

  • Our practice will communicate with you beforehand to ask some screening questions. You’ll be asked those same questions again at your appointment
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  • We have hand sanitiser that we will ask you to use when you enter the practice.
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  • We no longer offer magazines, children’s toys and so forth, since those items are difficult  to clean and disinfect
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  • Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.

 

We will do our best to allow greater time between patients to reduce waiting times for you, as well as to reduce the number of patients in the reception area at any one time.

 

How you can help:

  • Please do not arrive without an appointment
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  • Please do not arrive early to the practice. Once you have arrived, please call the practice by phone      on 01992 462 043 and check in with reception. You should then wait outside the practice until called in by a nurse.
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  • Please limit the number of things you bring with you to your appointment. ONLY bring  necessary items.
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  • Please bring your own pen to sign any consent forms
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  • We may ask you to complete your medical history form at home and bring it in at your appointment. Please ensure all parts are completed and all medications are recorded on this form
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  • With the exception of children and patients with carers, patients should come alone
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  • Only one consenting adult will be able to escort a child.
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  • A face covering must be worn by anyone escorting a child or vulnerable adult into the building. This cannot be provided by the practice due to PPE shortages. All our PPE will be needed to treat our patients and protect staff and patients.
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  • A distance of at least 2 metres must be observed if another patient is present in the dental practice
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  • Payment should be made by card where possible and we will sometimes request this over the phone. If cash payment is to be made, please make sure you bring the cash in a plastic bag. Staff will not shake your hand
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  • If you show symptoms following appointment booking, you should contact the practice by phone for advise

 

The welfare of our staff and patients is extremely important to us moving into this next stage in providing your dental care.

We look forward to welcoming everyone back

 

The Team at Hoddesdon Dental Surgery

 

Many patients are confused about the difference between private and NHS dental treatment so we have outlined some of the differences below. The common assumption is that private dentistry is more expensive but this may not always be the case and usually the service and treatment outcome you receive is better and unrestricted.

Private

  • Cosmetic treatment is not available on the NHS. This means the materials/treatments which produce the best appearance are often not used. Private treatment will always give you the best possible functional but also cosmetic result.
  • You are able to have private appointments at anytime a practice is open including in the evening after 5pm or on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays
  • Private treatment gives us complete freedom to provide the very highest standard of treatment and materials. We have no funding restrictions and focus purely on quality of the treatment.
  • Private work such as dentures, crowns, bridges and implants are usually sent to different private laboratories where named experienced technicians hand make the item. In our case we have used the same award winning private dental laboratory and technicians since 2005. There is also usually more flexibility in returning items from a private laboratory quickly.
  • Appointments are longer to allow plenty of time to complete your treatment at a more relaxed pace.
  • Certain treatments are not always available on the NHS eg. dental implants
  • Tooth whitening is not usually available on the NHS
  • With private treatments you can request your treatment to be performed by a specialist and be given quick and easy access eg. a difficult extraction
  • Orthodontic treatment for patients over the age of 18 is usually not available on the NHS and invisalign is usually not offered on the NHS
  • Your dentist will discuss your treatment options and costs and give you a written estimate before you commit to any treatment

NHS

  • NHS patients are treated with the same care as our private patients though the government does impose some restrictions and fixes the patient charges nationally
  • Treatment needs to be functional on the NHS and not for cosmetic reasons
  • NHS treatment is designed to be cost effective for the tax payer and each NHS clinic works to a fixed NHS budget so naturally this means more cost effective materials and laboratories are used
  • We must follow government guidelines for recalling patients which may mean you may not be entitled to a check up or clean as often as you want.
  • NHS cleaning is designed to ensure gum health and treat what is clinically necessary eg gum disease and not to specifically remove all stains or for cosmetic reasons
  • Appointment availability may be limited. You may not be able to get appointments outside school or work hours. You may also not be able to see more experienced dentists or specialists who choose to work outside the NHS
  • The government imposes limits on the amount of NHS treatment each practice can provide and the contracts are usually Monday to Friday 9-5. Once a clinic reaches its NHS limit they may not be able to offer any more NHS treatment until the next financial year
  • There are NHS clinics which will have contracts to provide emergency services on weekends and Bank holidays
  • Some treatments are not available under the NHS at all or in certain cases eg. cosmetic treatments / dental implants or certain preventative treatments eg. fissure sealants for low decay risk patients
  • Tooth whitening is usually not available on the NHS
  • Hygienists are usually not funded by the NHS
  • Specialist referral on the NHS may not always be available and you may have to be placed on a waiting list if accepted

Your dentist should always give you a choice of NHS and private treatment options to enable you to make a choice which is right for you. You should then always be given a written treatment plan so you can see the treatment required and likely cost of treatment. In summary NHS dentistry is designed to be functional, whereas private dentistry is usually functional and cosmetic. Each treatment plan is individual and it is best to discuss with your dentist the available NHS and private options.