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Expectations of NHS dentists too high?

K

kats

Junior member
Joined
Feb 21, 2014
Messages
1
I don't know if I expect too much from NHS dentists, maybe someone can give me an answer after reading my complaints.

I've had 3 treatments. First was to repair existing veneers which had cracked near the gum line, causing abrasions on the inside of my lip. The dentist repaired to half way down the tooth. The surface was abrasive, like sand. The surface bumpy and uneven, the line where it finished half way down the tooth was fairly visible and more so due to my coffee drinking, leaving a stain all along the line in the middle of my teeth, so quite ugly now. :cry:

My second visit I asked for a different dentist. I had 2 filling and was told it would 'throb' for a few weeks. After 6 days I was still in excruciating pain, :o I couldn't close my upper and lower teeth, the slightest touch would cause such awful pain. I am not a wimp and have a high threshold to pain.

My third visit, I called the surgery on day 6 and was told I may have an infection and should come to see the emergency dentist.

I explained the problem and asked that he not 'tap' the tooth as it was super sensitive and painful. His response? 'I'm the dentist' :devilish: as he tapped the tooth and informed me, 'no infection and you were told it would 'throb''. I had to ask for painkillers, on the way home the pain was so bad I fainted probably due to the fact that I had not eaten for a few days, other than smoothies. I had to take a cab home, where for 14 hours I slept, thanks to the pain killers.

In all it took 3 weeks for the severe pain to abate.

Was I expecting too much for an NHS dentist to fix veneers so that they don't look ugly and to - offer - pain killers when they anticipate that you will be in pain for weeks?

I have to say, I have not encountered one dentist in this practice who does not have a surly attitude, leaving me with the impression that they hate their work!

Any feedback would be much appreciated. Kats.
 
R

ripply

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2014
Messages
65
I know there are some great NHS dentists out there. My own NHS dentist is lovely but in my experience, they're all very rushed and I doubt the NHS pays them anywhere near enough to subsidise the treatment costs. I had a similar experience as a previous dentists when they damaged my teeth and I made a formal complaint about it. Maybe you'd be best to go private for now and get this problem sorted, or at least be pain free and then try to find a more sympathetic NHS practice. The private dentist will see you quicker and have more time for you.
 
I

irmemac

Well-known member
Joined
May 10, 2013
Messages
237
Location
Scotland
My NHS dentist is wonderful. Takes his time with me and makes sure I have time at the end to ask any questions about my treatment. Gives injections really slowly, and they never hurt. After the first half of a root canal treatment the other week he phoned me before the weekend to make sure I was having no discomfort. Conversely, a private dentist I went to last year (briefly) was brusque, rushed and offhand with me, and did not give me enough pain relief during a filling. I think it depends on the dentist. You said all the dentists at the surgery are surly - maybe that's the culture in that practise. There are lovely, kind and considerate dentists out there. Please keep looking. If you are a nervous patient, attending your current practise will not make you feel any better.

Good luck!
:clover::clover::clover:
 
C

comfortdentist

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Jul 19, 2009
Messages
2,878
Location
Miami, Fl
I can't commit on NHS dentists but we have a very low reimbursement system in USA called DMOs. In that type of insurance you see anywhere from nice dentists doing acceptable treatment to disasters. Dentists like all people vary tremendously in their skills and willingness to do their best for a patient.
 
M

mango

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2012
Messages
45
My NHS dentist is lovely and always seems to have time to answer my (probably pathetic) questions.

My friend had a tooth extracted at another local "highly recommended" private practice, found the dentist rushed (he was about to go on holiday) and had to find an emergency dentist a few days after to deal with infection, pain etc.
 
vicki

vicki

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2005
Messages
1,005
Location
UK
First of all, I'm not a dentist, so everything below is based on my own experience over the past 11 or 12 years since I stopped 'dentist dodging'! Up until a couple of years ago, I used to go to an NHS practice, but now I see a private dentist. I've also had a lot of treatment over the past 2 or 3 years as well.

I've had 3 treatments. First was to repair existing veneers which had cracked near the gum line, causing abrasions on the inside of my lip.
The NHS is supposed to provide the necessary treatment to keep your teeth and gums healthy, so anything that is deemed to be cosmetic, isn't covered and is something that you would need to pay privately for.

According to the NHS website: "All the treatment that your dentist believes is necessary to achieve and maintain good oral health is available on the NHS. This means that the NHS provides any treatment you need to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy and free of pain."

Although most treatments (apart from things like tooth whitening and implants for cosmetic purposes etc) are supposed to be available on the NHS, it seems to be increasingly more common for NHS practices to ration certain treatments such as root canals and crowns or even not offer them at all. The way that the NHS reimburses dentists for various treatments means that they're not paid adequately for a lot of the more complex treatments and so there isn't necessarily the incentive there to offer them to patients.

Of course not all NHS dentists and dental practices are the same; there are some very good NHS dentists out there who always try to do their best for their patients so that they get the treatment they need. It's like most things; there are good, not so good and pretty bad.

If you had the veneers done by an NHS dentist at your current practice (and the treatment was provided on the NHS), then I don't think it's unreasonable to ask them to repair the veneers if necessary and especially if they're causing you discomfort. On the other hand, if they were done privately, then unless they were causing you an actual physical problem in terms of your dental health (rather than for appearances only), I'm not sure that the NHS would cover this as it would be deemed to be cosmetic (I may be wrong - someone else may know more about this).

However, the dentist should have made it clear whether repairing the veneers was something that could be done on the NHS and if so and he agreed to repair them for you as an NHS patient, then I don't think that it's unreasonable to expect a professional job.

My second visit I asked for a different dentist. I had 2 filling and was told it would 'throb' for a few weeks. After 6 days I was still in excruciating pain, :o I couldn't close my upper and lower teeth, the slightest touch would cause such awful pain. I am not a wimp and have a high threshold to pain.
I've had quite a few fillings over the past few years and I've never been told that the tooth would 'throb' for a few weeks. :confused: Depending on your tooth and the size/position of the filling and also what was wrong with the tooth which meant a filling was required, it's normal to expect it to be a bit sensitive for a while until it settles down, but severe pain doesn't sound right at all.

Having said that, a lot of the fillings that I had at the NHS practice, always seemed very sore to chew on afterwards and the fillings would quite often break or crack within a couple of weeks. The fillings that I've had as a private patient have all been pain-free afterwards, have settled down very quickly and have been comfortable to chew on. The difference between NHS and private fillings is that on the NHS, a filling would take 15 minutes and they wouldn't always check that the filling fitted correctly in my bite afterwards. A private filling takes about 30 to 45 minutes and the filling is always adjusted so that it fits correctly.

I explained the problem and asked that he not 'tap' the tooth as it was super sensitive and painful. His response? 'I'm the dentist' :devilish: as he tapped the tooth and informed me, 'no infection and you were told it would 'throb''.
It sounds like he needs to go on a communication and interpersonal skills course!! :o It doesn't matter whether you are a private or NHS patient, you have a right to be treated with courtesy and respect.

Was I expecting too much for an NHS dentist to fix veneers so that they don't look ugly and to - offer - pain killers when they anticipate that you will be in pain for weeks?
During the time I went to an NHS practice, I probably saw about 7 or 8 different dentists. Most of them had either just qualified or had maybe 2 or 3 years' experience. Only one dentist actually took the time to make sure I was comfortable, that I got the treatment needed and that they did a good job. The rest were all very hurried and did as little as possible, mainly because the practice crammed as many patients in as they could in order to make a profit. The practice itself had 7 dentists working there and was part of a large corporate chain (they have over 200 practices). I never realised it at the time, but the hurried experience and the shovelling patients in and out as fast as possible, really didn't do anything for my anxiety levels. I don't think it's coincidence that since changing to a smaller private practice, where it's all fairly quiet, relaxed and there's no rush, that I've calmed down considerably (and I've also finally got the treatment that I needed to sort out my painful teeth).

I would think about changing practices or at least getting a second opinion (from a different dentist at a different practice). It sounds similar to the situation that I was in at the practice I used to go to, where they weren't interested in actually helping and instead did as little as possible. Even as an NHS patient, you're still the customer and can expect to receive appropriate and courteous treatment. Depending on your finances, you could try searching for a different NHS practice (visit the NHS website at www.nhs.uk) or you could try looking in our recommendations section on this forum to see whether there's a recommendation near you (most of the recommendations tend to be for private dentists). You can find the recommendations section here: http://www.dentalfearcentral.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?33-Dentist-Reviews-and-Recommendations

Hope this helps :).
 
C

Cl()ver

Junior member
Joined
Mar 18, 2014
Messages
1
Dear Vicki, My heart goes out to you. What you described is awful. You are a brave woman to continue to address your dental health with such barbaric drs.
Over the years, I have had about 6 fillings, the last 2 where with a newer technique where I didnt even need Novocain and they "sand blast" the decayed material away, then fill with composite and presto-perfection.

I have NEVER once felt the slightest pain after any dental procedure, let alone prolonged agony. Even during the procedure, maybe a little discomfort at worst.
I live in the States, and I am not a rich person. I am single and work as a bar tender, so it's not like I'm going to a boutique dentist who lights candles and plays lovely music, just a regular, run of the mill dentist.

Perhaps your drs are being set up to fail you, or, maybe they are just sadistic nut jobs who should be hung from their toenails for torturing their patients---I don't know.

But I do know the level of care you are receiving is outrageously bad.

I only wish I could offer you some information that could lead to an alternative for you. All I can say is, don't give up.
 

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