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.)


Reya Mellicker said...

Cultural differences are interesting - and sometimes maddening.

I got my teeth cleaned yesterday, and x-rays and a check from my lovely dentist.

$275. Ridiculous!

Vivian said...

yuck! i had mine Saturday..and of course they found a crack in a filling.
i have dental insurance, cost me $0...yay!!
i go back next week to have it repaired or whatever..that will cost me

Linda Sue said...

Mr. Man is a restorative dentist, so I get the best dental care available.People travel from all over the world to have Mr. Man do their dentistry, he is that good. Hyper focus, when he is working on a tooth that is the only thing that matters at the moment. Great dentistry is more rare than it ought tobe. AND expensive. A sort of get what you pay for deal.British dentistry has never topped the list of good work.Norway is better. With your prophy did they do a fluoride treatment? If not, while your teeth are freshly cleaned you might want to swish with some just to help the enamel.Prevident might be available there(?) Good luck with your check up- so much anxiety for patients, understandable. Before Mr. Man I had terrible experiences.No body enjoys going to the dentist!

Ms. Moon said...

Well, now you know. How odd, right?

ellen abbott said...

It will be interesting what the difference between cleanings will be, though since they are already super cleaned, I don't imagine they will do much the second time around.

Nancy said...

Bass ackwardness gets under my skin.