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
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.
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
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.