Are you wondering what the difference is between private vs NHS dentistry? The key is to consider how treatment is funded and how that might limit the options available.
The NHS is a fantastic asset. In dentistry, the NHS promises to provide all dental treatment required to maintain your oral health at minimal or no cost upfront. The government artificially sets the price you pay low, and subsidises the cost with public funds. So the funding comes partially from the charge you may pay at the dentist, but also from public funds.
The current NHS dental system promises all the treatment you might require, but it’s designed to minimise cost. The government purposefully limits the funding available for each course of dental treatment. NHS dentists are therefore incentivised to provide you with the cheapest and fastest acceptable, basic treatment. This is good for public health and means public funds are spent treating as many people as possible. Ultimately however, limited funding must limit the level of care, and the time that can be spent providing your treatment.
The government also limits spending by limiting the number of dental contacts available to NHS dentists. The limited number of NHS dental contracts is not enough to meet the dental needs of the population so its simply not possible for everyone to access an NHS dentist.
Its much easier to register with and access a private dentist. This is because the government cannot limit the private dental care you receive. Private dental treatment is only limited by the skills of the dentist and what you are willing to pay. This opens up an array of alternative and advanced treatments and materials that are not offered routinely on the NHS because they are too expensive. Additionally, the dentist can spend as long as required to provide the treatment to her or his best ability.
Private dentists’ prices vary widely according to their level of skill and experience, location, and hours of service. Expensive dentists may have undertaken extra training in special interests, or may be offering evening and weekend appointments perhaps in a prime location like a city centre. On the other hand, cheaper dentists may have less experience and training or may be in less convenient locations with only daytime appointments.
Of course prices are not always indicative of the quality or level of service. The best way to find out why a dentist charges more or less than the local competition is to ask. Most dentists will be very happy and comfortable explaining their prices and the reasoning behind them.