The government led reform of the dental industry is history now. It appears that things are very much simpler for both High Street dentists and their patients since the changes. The dentists have simply disappeared – they’ve either changed to completely private practice, reduced the amount of NHS patients on their books or their waiting list is so long it’s virtually impossible to register with them. The simplicity for patients is that many simply can’t find an NHS dentist.
For those who still have their NHS dentist, the higher cap on the charges for the most complicated treatments have been welcomed, although some charges for the more minor treatments now cost more than previously.
It’s not easy to find a dentist willing to take you on – it’s estimated that the shortage of them in the UK could be as high as 4,000 and rising.
The Governments confidence in their belief that the new agreements would have meant that an increasing number of dentists would stay in the NHS appears to have been wrongly placed. The misgivings of the British Dental Association – who felt that more than half of dentists would lessen their commitment or even leave the health service when the contracts came in – seem to have been correct.
So, it can be an expensive time when you need a trip to the dentist. You have to keep up to date on your check ups too – go 15 months without a visit and the dentist has the right to take you off their patient list.
Lots of people are turning to other ways of ensuring their dental care is kept up to date and there are several different private dental care schemes on offer.
The plan that comes to mind when you think of private dental care is the one which is featured in many dentists waiting rooms. It’s known as a “capitation” scheme and is a payment plan which is offered via your dentist. It’s not actually dental insurance – more on that later – but more a way of letting you budget for preventative care and routine dental procedures.
Your dentist will examine the state of your mouth to assess the condition and also take into account your previous dental history. It will be necessary to have any outstanding dental work carried out so that you start the plan with a clean bill of dental health. After this is complete you’re ready to go and the plan provider will work out a cost, normally paid monthly, for you to join them.
There are variations on the cover, within whatever plan you choose, and some are more inclusive than others. A simple care plan will cover things like fillings, bridges, crowns, oral hygiene and any x rays that are needed. The only parts of the deal not covered are laboratory costs. The plan usually has an insurance element included which will cover serious dental problems and is there for dental emergencies.
Michael Challiner is the editor of Brokers Online one of the UK’s largest financial websites. Life Insurance Brokers Online [http://www.life-assurance-bureau.co.uk] offers its clients access to most uk financial products including Cheap Dental Insurance [http://www.life-assurance-bureau.co.uk/dental-insurance/]. Visit Brokers Online to gain access to a wealth of articles and information about Dental Insurance.