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UK NHS cost/waiting time /alternatives?



Junior member
Jun 30, 2011

My questions.

How long is the average waiting time for a NHS dentist?

I need root canals done, crowns, a bridge. What is the average cost for this through the NHS? Should I only use the ceramic crowns?

Average costs for one molar-root canal+ ceramic crown? Bridge for root canal treated tooth's?

I have a molar which gives me a little pain when I eat sweets, the last dentist said it doesn't need treatment at the moment, even the tooth has many black on it? Is he waiting to rip me off with a root canal and a crown sooner or later? Isn't usually the black stuff removed and a filling put in?

When do dentist use a inlay and why? Is this better then a filling or simply more money for the dentist ?

Do most people go to private dentists anyway?

Could I see a private dentist and get some money back through the NHS?

Are there any alternatives to England in Europe? Or is this travelling not this fun even if you safe hundreds of pounds.

Is Nitrous oxide often used? Is sedation dentistry quite common or rare to find in UK? I mean the tablet and or IV sedation?

Last thing implants, how painful, procedure and money-wise are they? How long does it take to heal or use them?

Thats enough I guess for the moment,

thanks to any advice!
If you are a non-British person based in the UK at the moment, wanting the best available dental care, I would strongly advise you to go to an ethical private dentist with a good reputation.
Have a look on our Dentistfinder for one in your area.

Also if you are not afraid of the dentist, this forum is not really for you. We do not do quotes for the UK or anywhere else.
NHS fees are very cheap compared to private - you can get the current bands on the NHS choices website but as you have seen the problem is finding an NHS dentist who will give you the care you need and want. Not everything is available on NHS anyway.
They can't spend as much time with you as most private dentists (a private checkup is 20-30 mins maybe, an NHS one 10 mins and they may do it in 3 mins) and in general, you are more likely to get a recently qualified dentist in the NHS.
Root canals are best done by private endodontists. They are cheap in the NHS but what's the point if it will fail because it wasn't done to an ideal standard?
NHS medical care is fine but if you want ideal care for dentistry, it is likely not your best bet although it is your cheapest.
Many people use private dentists in UK. No you cannot get money back from NHS if you use a private dentist. Some private dentists offer nitrous sedation etc especially those working with fearful patients.
An implant may be better than a bridge as a bridge compromises 2 healthy adjacent teeth - implants are not available on NHS.
No dentistry needs to be painful during treatment so long as you choose a competent dentist.
I'm in the States at the moment but soon back, just wanted to find out if is cheaper then here.
I never have been to a NHS dentist, people say scary things about them, not sure if its true.

I'm a very nervous patient and need sedation.

Just on the average how much is a crown at a private dentist?

How good does a implant heal? How is the pain ? I can't handle pain very well.
I'm in the States at the moment but soon back, just wanted to find out if is cheaper then here.
I never have been to a NHS dentist, people say scary things about them, not sure if its true.

I'm a very nervous patient and need sedation.

Just on the average how much is a crown at a private dentist?

How good does a implant heal? How is the pain ? I can't handle pain very well.

I get the impression that most UK private dentistry is cheaper than the equivalent quality would be in the USA.
A crown privately would likely be anywhere from 300 pounds to 600 pounds (just guessing). Implants vary a lot and are usually over a thousand pounds each I would think.
The maximum NHS fee for Band C treatment which a crown would fall under is 204 pounds per course of treatment. The NHS does not do implants. No idea re pain while healing as I havent had one.

Obviously privately a lot of the cost of a crown is in the lab fee and material used, the NHS would use a cheap lab providing an acceptable but not the best available quality. You get what you pay for. The NHS would not offer the full range of crown types either. It would likely be a porcelain fused to metal whereas privately you could opt for porcelain fused to gold among other things.

NHS dentists should be polite, hygienic and ok for basic stuff (but dental cleanings and xrays are not given the same priority in NHS as in USA) but how well a crown would be done would depend on the skill of the dentist and the quality of the lab they used.

In the past all dentists were in the NHS pretty much but over the last 20 years a lot especially in the South of England have opted out, so NHS tends to be more of a training ground for newly qualified dentists including many from overseas.
You can choose which dental practice you go to in the NHS but you will have no control over which dentist you will be allocated to (in general). The same dentist will usually complete your course of treatment though.
In the private sector you choose your dentist and can stay with them indefinitely.

UK dentists don't do the USA 'production line' treatment thing, your dentist will stay with you for your whole appointment, they may even collect you personally from the waiting area and usually they do the x-rays themselves they don't delegate it to support staff.
I think this is a real positive of UK dentistry but in NHS it is less so as they tend to be rushed and busy.
The one exception to this is that hygienists do exist but not in all practices. They are more likely to be available at private practices but you would often have a separate appt to see one, it wouldn't be at the same time as your checkup appt with the dentist (in general) although for convenience you could arrange for it to be back to back. You can get the same standard of regular clean from a hygienist in the private sector as you would in the USA. I think this tends to be more important for older people and is where the NHS lets older patients down often.

There are three NHS charge bands.
Band 1: £17 includes an examination, diagnosis and advice. If necessary, it also includes X-rays, a scale and polish and planning for further treatment.
Band 2: £47 includes all treatment covered by Band 1, plus additional treatment, such as fillings, root canal treatment and removing teeth (extractions).
Band 3: £204 includes all treatment covered by Bands 1 and 2, plus more complex procedures, such as crowns, dentures and bridges.

I recommend you use a private dentist in UK where the prices will likely seem cheap to you in USA terms and you will more easily get a pleasant personal service that way.
Get recommendations though from people who are satisfied with treatment they have had.

It is common to offer i/v sedation in the private sector (but not all do it) but you may find with the right dentist you won't need it, as they will likely delegate nothing except holding the suction to support staff and if you like and trust them, you may find getting their full kind attention takes your nerves away somewhat. It is easier to forge a bond when you only have to relate to one person not several.
You can check all UK dentists on the GDC register on the internet and so see when and where they qualified which will enable you to avoid rookies.
Look at websites - they often give a good idea of what a practice is like and what their treatment philosophies are.
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