Thursday, January 23, 2014
Adventures in British Dentistry, Part 4
When I originally scheduled yesterday's dental appointment, I called the dentist's office across the street and told them I wanted a cleaning. They signed me up and said it would cost £45.
That seemed a bit steep, and when I reported the price to my coworkers, they were surprised. One said she pays £18 for a cleaning that includes a dental checkup and x-rays. That's apparently the standard price under the National Health Service.
I wasn't sure why I was paying more -- I had a vague notion that perhaps I was paying privately because my dentist was already treating his full share of NHS patients -- but I went ahead with my appointment and it seemed to go fine. The hygienist used the little ultrasonic wand with water, as well as the dreaded metal pick and the polishing grit (though, in the European way, he only polished my front teeth with the grit). But I didn't get any x-rays, and I never saw a dentist. So as I paid at the end of my appointment, I asked how to get x-rays.
"Oh, you have to schedule a checkup," said the receptionist.
And how much does that cost?
"Eighteen pounds," he said.
With a checkup, it turns out, I not only get the x-rays and the dentist exam, but I also get...wait for it...a CLEANING!
So why, why, why did I pay £45 for a cleaning alone? To hear the receptionist tell it, the cleaning I got from the hygienist was more thorough than what I would get with the NHS checkup. But who knows.
At any rate, I go back Monday morning for my checkup. And now I know to book a "checkup," and not a "cleaning."
(Photo: Ealing Broadway, on Sunday.)