Britain is a nation reluctant to visit the dentist because of a lack of understanding about the cost of dental care. Many have the right to free treatment. Do you know if you can get free dental treatment?
According to research by mydentist, on average, Brits assumed the cost of emergency treatment to be five times the actual figure of £20.60 for an NHS urgent care appointment.
And for fillings, root canal treatment and extractions or removal of teeth, Brits thought they would pay double the true figure.
Of significant concern is that according to the poll for National Smile Month (May 15 – June 15) around a third of Brits don’t appreciate that dental care is free for kids.
There are fears that a tooth decay time bomb threatens the nation’s children – fears perhaps being compounded as this finding comes on the back of the NHS revealing that tooth decay is a top cause of child hospital admissions*.
Equally the findings showed that over 40% of respondents had no idea that pregnant women or those who have had a baby in the past 12 months are also entitled to free treatment.
Nearly half of those polled didn’t realise that under-19s in full time education are exempt too.
Do you know whether you are entitled to free dental care?
By not understanding the position, many are missing out on free, essential dental care and putting their oral health at risk.
Some are opting to buy private dental care as they believe they will have to wait too long for an NHS appointment or won’t even be able to get one in the area they live.
Some believe they have to go private because they don’t receive benefits .
There are reasons why you might want to buy private dental care but these cited reasons are not valid.
Steve Williams, Clinical Services Director, mydentist, commented: “These are truly worrying statistics.
“Despite oral health improving in children in recent decades, the number one reason for hospital admissions remains tooth decay even though children receive free treatment.
“We need to raise awareness among parents so that children are taken to the dentist regularly to prevent problems developing.
“Simple things like painting fluoride on children’s teeth from an early age twice a year can make a real difference, while regular visits to the dentist should be a given.
“Even among adults, we see millions not taking advantage of treatment they are entitled to cost free, or paying for private treatment because of a misconception that waiting lists are excessively long.
“May 15 marks the start of National Smile Month so we want to raise awareness of the importance of good oral health.”
Diane Ray, MoneyHighStreet.com commented: “As with any personal finance matters, or indeed any products or services we use or buy, it is important to understand what you are using or buying, what your options are and to opt for the most appropriate solution for your needs.
“This applies to dental care as much as to anything else
“Clearly, regular visits to the dentist is important to ensure your teeth and gums are well looked after.
“Ensure you explore your options.
“It is true to say that in some areas it is more difficult to get on the books of an NHS dentist than others.
“Phone around and if need be go on a waiting list.
“We did this for our children, putting them on the waiting list of a local NHS dentist and within a very short time we had a call to say that they had opened their books for new people and both our children were now able to be included.
“They have regular, free check-ups, are well looked after and also both have been referred to an orthodontist at the appropriate time.
“If you decide you want to take out some form of dental insurance, be sure to choose cover that is adequate for you. For example, insurers may cap the amount they will pay out over a year, so don’t choose the cheapest policy unless you’re confident it will cover your dental needs.”