Why Does Dentistry Cost so Much?

Image credit: Freedigitalphotos.net Stuart Miles

This is a question that is asked by many people so we thought it would be a good idea to take a little bit of time to address this issue. Dentistry can often feel like it costs a great deal of money  and there is a general consensus of opinion that healthcare, including dentistry  should be free in the UK on the NHS.  In this blog post we go through some of the reasons why dentistry can seem expensive and perhaps how you can keep costs low.

One of the ways that you can lower the cost of dentistry is by enrolling on a membership plan at your dental practice. These membership plans often include all of your dental health appointments (including routine dental health checks and hygiene visits) as well as a good  percentage discount on any other treatment required. You can find out more about our practice membership plans here.

Let’s continue with the theme of this blog post and look at some of the reasons that UK dentistry  can seem quite expensive.

Reason #1 – Keeping you Safe

In the UK the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regularly inspect all dental practices, they are checking for cross infection control procedures as well as policies  which keep you safe.  Dental practices must also adhere to cross infection control policies such as Decontamination in primary care dental practices (HTM 01-05). Complying to this heavy regulation is absolutely the right thing to do and keeps  you as a patient safe and protected  however, many of the requirements can end up costing a dental practice  money by way of investment in  equipment, training and often separate sterilisation rooms.

Reason #2 – Using the Best Suppliers

Image credit: gameanna at freedigitalphotos.net

One of the ways that a dental practice could reduce their costs with dental implants, bridges, veneers and dentures is to use a cheap dental laboratory. Your dental practice could send your new teeth to be made overseas  in somewhere like China or India. The problem with this is a loss of control of quality, who is making your new implant or crown? Exactly what materials are used? And what action could you take if there is any problem?

For this reason  many dentists prefer to use UK laboratories which inevitably have higher costs than laboratories in India or China. Using a UK dental laboratory means we have a good level of communication with the laboratory technicians, this ensures you have the highest quality implants, veneers, crowns and bridges with a trusted level of support.

Reason #3 – Using the Best Products

It would also be a quick and simple cost-cutting measure for any dentist to use cheaper materials,, many of the dental materials that your dentist uses regularly are available  on sites like Amazon or eBay. However, where do these materials come from? By using quality materials with the regulatory CE Mark you can rest assured that  any material that is used in your mouth comes with the highest quality and  assurance rating.

Reason #4 – Looking after Your Whole Body Health

In years gone by it used to be that your dentist would just look after your teeth, whilst this is still the focus of their attention modern research has shown  that there are clear links between your whole body health and the state of your teeth and gums.

The bacteria which are present in gingivitis and periodontitis have also been shown to be gateway bacteria in heart disease, diabetes and even things like erectile dysfunction.

With these clear links  your dentist gets an insight into other conditions which may affect  your whole body health. It’s always been important to look after your dental hygiene but with more  understanding it’s clear that dentistry should not be taken in isolation.

Reason #5 – Staying on Top of the Latest Research

As with any professional one would expect that they have to keep up to date with the latest research and continuously update their knowledge. In years gone by it was possible for many professionals to do their initial education at University and then never do any more courses. This is now not the case and dentists need to ensure that they  undertake 250 hours of continuing professional development every five years. The General Dental Council set out the requirements for courses as follows:

  • Medical Emergencies – What to do and how to keep you as the patient safe
  • Disinfection and Decontamination – Techniques, equipment and materials to protect you as a patient.
  • Radiography and radiation protection – Understanding and reading radiographs
  • Legal and ethical issues – Understanding how to keep you as a patient protected
  • Complaints handling – What can you do if you have cause for concern and who should you turn to?
  • Oral Cancer: Early detection – Keeping patients safe and detecting cancer early
  • Safeguarding children and young people – Looking for the warning signs that they may be safeguarding issue
  • Safeguarding vulnerable adults

Summary

As you can see, dentists and dental practices have a heavy requirement to keep themselves updated with modern techniques, materials, research and systems in order to keep you safe and protected as well as provide you with the highest level of care.  All of this comes with a cost and this unfortunately works its way through into the cost of dentistry.

So what can you do to keep costs low?

One of the simplest things is to ensure you look after your teeth from as young an age as possible. Regular brushing for 2 min twice per day with a fluoride containing toothbrush and then cleaning in between your teeth with an interdental brush or floss  will help to keep your dental costs lower as your oral health will be better.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog post or book an appointment for a dental health check please contact us today.

Redhill Dental Clinic is a local practice in Stourbridge offering affordable dental treatments to the local people.

Originally from Birmingham, Philip achieved his Bachelor of Dental Surgery, BDS with Merit from University of Wales Cardiff Dental School In 1997. Having worked in several practices, he has been dedicated to private practice since 2002.

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Redhill Dental Clinic
14 Redhill
Stourbridge
West Midlands
DY8 1ND
Phone: 01384 372015
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