NHS dentistry is facing an ongoing crisis. Last year alone, 11 million people were unable to get an appointment with an NHS dentist. Moreover, more than 282,000 patients were waiting for oral surgery on the NHS at the end of November 2022, according to the most recent data released by NHS England. Waiting times are an average of 16 weeks which can lead to serious consequences for a patient’s oral health.
While we understand that switching to private dental care may not be an option for everyone, this post highlights three fundamental reasons to consider changing and the benefits of doing so. Let’s jump in and take a look.
# Reason 1 –Affordable Flexible Private Dental Plans Vs Increased NHS Dental Charges
If you have been fortunate enough to secure an NHS dental appointment, you may be shocked to learn that charges in England increased by 8.5% from April 24 2023.
Patients seeking a Band 1 treatment, like a check-up, should be aware that the price has increased from £23.80 to £25.80, while a dental filling (Band 2) increased from £65.20 to £70.70.
If you need a Band 3 treatment, such as dentures, you’ll need to find an additional £24 as the price has increased from £282.80 to £306.80.
The British Dental Association has warned that one in four patients are delaying their trip to the dentist or going without dental treatment due to rising costs.
Benefit from flexible dental plans when you go private
The good news is that most private dental practices, including Foxbury, offer affordable and flexible care plans for routine dental care. Our dental plans, for example, enable patients to spread the cost of their routine dental care, including a 10% discount over paying ad hoc. This includes dental check-ups, x-rays and hygiene appointments via a single monthly payment. Starting from as little as £8.49 per month for adults, it provides patients with the ongoing dental care they need to maintain a healthy smile at a discounted price, while enabling them to budget for other treatments not included in the package.
# Reason 2 – Shorter Waiting Times Of Days As Opposed To Months Or Years
Last year, 2,000 dentists left the NHS, causing ‘dental deserts’ to emerge across England and leaving millions of people struggling to get a check-up or have their toothache fixed.
This exodus has intensified a situation where people are struggling to get dental care because so few dental practices will treat them as NHS patients.
The number of NHS dentists in England dropped from 23,733 at the end of 2020 to 21,544 at the end of January 22, resulting in the the NHS having the lowest number of dentists in a decade. In some areas, patients have been forced to wait three years for an appointment or travel further away from their homes to an NHS dentist who will see them.
Little-to-no wait time with a private dentist
Registering with a private dentist means you no longer have to play the waiting game. You can organise a consultation or treatment on a convenient day and time for your schedule. If you want to see your dentist next week, it’s usually not a problem.
Patients booking their first dental appointment with Foxbury can expect the following:
- A thorough examination, including dental and medical history
- Assessment of the jaw, gums and teeth
- Digital x-ray of their current oral situation
- Discussion of your smile goals
- A comprehensive treatment plan based on the above information
- Oral cancer screening
What if you have a dental emergency?
You’ll be pleased to know that we set aside time in our day for patients requiring urgent care. Wherever possible, we see emergencies on the same day. You shouldn’t have to suffer pain or discomfort. If you have a dental emergency, call Foxbury Dental on 01858 455 100, and we’ll take care of everything else.
# Reason 3 – Longer Unrushed Appointments vs Short Appointments
Dentists contracted to the NHS operate on a target-based system which sets incentives for the work they achieve. They get paid for each UDA (unit of dental activity), which is currently set at a minimum of £23.00. However, there is a flaw in the system, with relatively minor work still being rewarded at the same rate as more complex treatments that take hours. Unfortunately, this can lead to NHS dentists shortening patient treatment plans to hit their target number of UDAs rather than focusing on patient needs. Ultimately this means rushed appointments and sometimes, inadequate treatment.
Private dentists have more time
In contrast, private dentists have no targets to meet and can instead focus on their patients and quality of service. Routine private appointments are usually allocated more time than those on the NHS, and patients may be offered an evening or weekend appointment if required.
At Foxbury, we’ve designed our dental practice to be calm and relaxing – more like a home-from-home than a dentist. We fully explain treatments to patients, so they know what to expect. This helps alleviate anxiety and allows plenty of time so no one feels rushed.
Why not join us?
Hopefully, the above information highlights three fundamental benefits of switching to private dental care and why you should. Thanks to our flexible dental plans for you and your family, maintaining a healthy smile may be more affordable than you initially thought.
If you’re tired of struggling to get NHS dental care, we’d love to welcome you to Foxbury Dental.