The United Kingdom offers dental patients two choices. They can take advantage of the National Health Service by visiting a NHS dentist or they can opt to visit a private dentist.
There is a distinct difference between the two, according to leading dentist and specialist oral surgeon Tariq Drabu. NHS dentists provide basic and urgent treatment; this can be anything from filling or pulling a tooth to providing a bridge or dentures. A private dentist provides basic dental care along with cosmetic dentistry, which includes veneers, tooth whitening and more.
There are also different pay structures you need to be aware of. The NHS dentistry is easy to understand with three band charges applicable based on the treatment you need. With a private dentist, the dentist practice sets their own prices based on the treatment needed.
Another difference is that there aren’t enough NHS dentists in the United Kingdom, even those taking on new patients will have a long waiting list for an appointment and sometimes getting an urgent appointment can be quite a daunting experience. Private dentists don’t have those long waiting lists and can often accommodate a new patient within a few days, depending on the treatment they require.
Dr Tariq Drabu did advise that all private dentists are fully qualified dental practitioners for general and cosmetic dentistry. Some are also oral surgeons, enabling them to do dental surgeries, such as dental implants and other essential treatments.
There are a number of factors you need to take into consideration when looking for a private dentist in the United Kingdom. Many of the NHS dental surgeries also offer private treatments, so if you’re already a patient at one of the many surgeries, it’s worthwhile finding out it they will perform the treatment you are looking for, whether you want to have your teeth a few shades lighter, you want veneers to fix that crooked tooth or you want implants.
If your dental surgery is NHS only, then the best place to start your search is online. Start by searching for dental surgeries in your local area, you will find a high volume are actually private and don’t accept NHS patients. Do some research to learn as much about the practice as you can. Read through the online reviews and go through their website with a fine tooth comb before contacting them.
The main reason you will want to contact them is to identify their waiting list and also their prices. With private dentists they base the price per treatment, so whether you need to have a white filling for a hole in your tooth or you want dental implants, you should be able to get a price quickly. Bear in mind that not all practices charge the same price, so it may be worthwhile phoning around a few surgeries to get an idea of price in your local area.
Always check how the dentist accepts payment, Tariq Drabu recommends. Some dentists require payment up front for treatments, while others will accept payment once the treatment is completed. All should accept cash or card, some may even accept cheque payments.
It is also important when choosing a private dentist that you choose a surgery which is ideally located and is welcoming. You want to feel comfortable and welcome the minute you step through the door. The team should be understanding and ensure you are calm and relaxed before any treatment begins. In addition to this, Dr Tariq Drabu advised that all dentists need to discuss the treatment plan in detail and provide you with an itemized billing, so you know exactly what you are paying for.
About Dr Tariq Drabu
Dr Tariq Drabu is a leading dentist and specialist oral surgeon. This Manchester born and educated dentist was one of the youngest dentists to graduate in the United Kingdom. He has worked at some of the busiest hospitals in the UK and Saudi Arabia and completed his Fellowship in Dental Surgery from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He is the owner of the very successful Langley Dental Practice and is also the Clinical Lead Dentist for the Oral Surgery Clinical Assessment and Treatment Services at NHS Heywood Middleton and Rochdale. Tariq Drabu also teaches and mentors postgraduate dentists in oral surgery at the UCLAN Dental Clinic in Preston.