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Dentist Problems

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
#1
Posting here because I have limited access to a range of opinions and knowledge, and hope to tap the community:

For years I have been going to a private practice about 12 miles away. The dentist's chair is the last place I want to be and they were very good with me (I was introduced there by my former partner). The practice was run by two brothers, who retired earlier this year and sold the practice to a new man.

Despite being private the charges were OK. They've now rocketed up (of course), and I have no reason to be loyal to the new man, especially as getting there is inconvenient (I know it's not that far, but city traffic, parking fees, etc...).

I have no idea how NHS dentistry works, or why everyone isn't entitled to NHS treatment (presuming it's not just cosmetic - or is everything cosmetic unless it is relieving pain?). Anyway, I rang the NHS (Wales) Dental Helpline and got a recorded message advising me to email. The response to the email was a list of practices currently accepting new patients, and one of them is very close to me.

So I called in and asked to sign on. It's in a shopping precinct on a council estate, not a very nice part of town (you wouldn't want to park a decent car), and the reception area is like a typical NHS clinic. Okay, so I guess they are qualified dentists with up-to-date equipment and a full range of treatment options, right?

The trouble is, they won't see me for another three weeks and I have a problem now. I suspect the only reason I am not in pain right now is that I had a root canal job on that particular tooth. I suspect I have some kind of infection under it, and being upper jaw the infection could spread to critical areas.

Do I:
  1. Go see my GP;
  2. Ring up the NHS helpline and ask for emergency treatment;
  3. Go back to my old practice with the new man, where I have no doubt I can get a quick appointment.
If 3, do I then:
  1. Stick with the old practice;
  2. Follow through with the NHS registration.
Discuss.
 

prpr

Well-Known Member
#2
I dunno. It's something you'll need to chew over.

I go to a place just off the A369 and I'm very happy with it. If you're over this side of the bridge a lot then it's probably not too much bother.
I moved there after my previous dentist retired (it was elsewhere in the country for historical reasons and had to be combined with a normal trip to those parts).
There was rather a gap (several years!) between the two though, due to the difficulty of finding an NHS dentist at the time. But then things improved which was a good job as I was in some discomfort.
 
OP
OP
Black Hole

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
#3
I dunno. It's something you'll need to chew over.
Kerboom ching!

I go to a place just off the A369 and I'm very happy with it. If you're over this side of the bridge a lot then it's probably not too much bother.
I think that would be a last resort, plus there is the problem of having a Wales address and asking for NHS treatment in England (bloody devolution).
 

MikeSh

Well-Known Member
#4
We've been private, generally PAYG, for many years. Partly because of the difficulty in finding a convenient NHS dentist and partly because for routine work by the time you pay the NHS fee it isn't (for us anyway) that much more expensive.
So I would be looking at other private dentists, though if they are as expensive as this new guy (what sort of charges does he make?) then it may not be much use.
 
#5
and I have a problem now.
That would class the problem as urgent. Is there an Urgent Care Centre near you (a walk-in centre)?
There is one in Nottingham with "An urgent dental service [is also] available on-site that can provide free advice on dental problems". If there is one near to you maybe you could queue up all day. I don't really see this as a viable solution.
If the new dentist took over the practice you are probably still on his books, although you may need to fill in a questionaire. If you are not bothered by the cost, but are bothered by the dental problem, I'd be tempted to see if you can get a quick appointment there. You can always cancel the appointment with the NHS dentist. If you find the new dentist is not to your liking, you've got the NHS dentist to fall back on.
You're lucky you have the choice. I've fallen out with the new dentist who took over after the previous bloke retired. I gave him a fair go. But his diagnostic skills are terrible. Looking around for a new (NHS?) dentist and haven't found one yet...
 
OP
OP
Black Hole

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
#12
It transpires that the health board covering my area allocates emergency dental appointments daily, for that day only. If you're not in the first n in the queue (whatever n is) when the phone lines open at 9, you're out of luck. It's a lottery, because once they know how the system works everyone will hit the phone at 9.

It seems I have no guarantee of service unless I either wait another 2½ weeks for my induction into an NHS dentist, or go private back to my old place. I suppose I had better do that and take it from there.

Health care rationed by availability. Those with the means are almost forced to go elsewhere, and those without the means have to put up with it. GPs are getting like that now too. What's more, it's a vicious circle: the greater the demand for private care, the more staff will be sucked into the private sector and the less available service will become in the public sector.
 
Last edited:
#13
GPs are getting like that now too.
Yes, my GP practice (tautology?) has the system where you need to ring up early for emergency appointments. Out of hours you get diverted to 111. Just after 8am there is a telephone queue that, if you are lucky, you get to the top of in about ten minutes. If you are unlucky - who knows? Trouble is, the queue is managed by the practice - as in the phone has been answered but there is no receptionist to deal with your query. It therefore costs you pots of money. If it just rang and rang managed by BT or whoever it would be free up until someone answered it. Even worse, the phone is answered immediately and you get one of the NHS propaganda messages before you get the ringing tone and then told you are in a queue. The music whilst you are on hold is rubbish as well.
 

prpr

Well-Known Member
#14
GPs are getting like that now too.
That's why option 1 in your original post was a non-starter. Even if you could get an appointment with the GP in a timely manner, you'd be told to go to the dentist, so it'd just be a waste of a GP slot.
It therefore costs you pots of money.
Go VoIP. I pay 0.1p per minute. Doesn't worry me any more compared to what my phone provider used to charge, plus their iniquitous "call setup charge" which is something outrageous like 25p.
I've still got £1.02 credit on my VoIP account from my £1.19 allocation (which cost me £1.30 in real money - the 11p is the provider's "facility fee").
 
OP
OP
Black Hole

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
#19
I think this cartoon from the current Private Eye sums it up.
At least hospital car parks in Wales are all free now (apparently).

That's why option 1 in your original post was a non-starter. Even if you could get an appointment with the GP in a timely manner, you'd be told to go to the dentist, so it'd just be a waste of a GP slot.
Yes, following up on Option 3, I was told it would be useless to go to a GP because they spend very little time learning about problems in the mouth on the assumption dentists cover it.

I am told I have an abscess, and removal of the tooth appears to be the best option. I chickened out of having it done today though (there's nothing to get hold of), and will go back next week armed with Diazepam (even though the ones I have seem to be little more than placebos). £85!

Another option has presented itself: I could try asking to be registered for NHS treatment where I am (it's a lot more savory than the place on the sink estate around the corner).
 
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