Deciding on treatment
Deciding on treatment depends on circumstances and what you want to achieve. Some people only want immediate pain relief and deal with the next problem as it arises, whilst others want excellent dental health for their lifetime and others accept something in between.
Those who continue to follow the first route pay the least in monetary terms, but the most in discomfort, sleepless nights, problems with eating, talking and appearance. They age more quickly and are more likely to have health problems arising from their teeth. On average they die about six years sooner than those with excellent oral health. Unfortunately, the Government through its policy on dentistry is encouraging this approach by improving access ,but only for simpler treatment such as extraction of teeth. Many dentists consider this a slide back towards Third World dentistry. We all know the Government have limited resources, but they have failed to spell out the consequences of this for people to make an informed decision.
For those who want excellent health and know how to look after their teeth need the least treatment, having checkups every six to twelve months problems are picked up early and dealt with most cheaply.
Most have lower aspirations and these change during their lifetime. As a young person they value their appearance, but don't carry out proper prevention and small problems arise in their late teens and twenties. They have basic work done because they can't afford the best. This process may continue into their forties, when they have accumulated a substantial number of fillings, which by then are breaking down. If they can't afford to deal with these properly, they have patches, accepting that they may need dentures when they reach old age. Those who can afford it begin to invest in high quality work to maintain their appearance and function throughout life.
As a private practice we deal with all these groups. Even those requiring extractions and nothing more come to us because we have more time to give them a better experience. Those who have basic work gain more understanding of what is happening and we can help them maintain their mouths and perhaps help them to get through their lives without dentures. We are geared up for those wanting high quality work with investments in all the equipment necessary.
If we are to help you decide on the best treatment we need to know what your aspirations are. Generally, we will advise the best treatment in terms of quality, but also give you other options, even though we don't necessarily agree with them. You can make your choice on the basis of what your budget is.
If you come to us and say you want a smile makeover for instance, we need to know your budget, because we can plan within it or tell you that your budget is insufficent to achieve what you are hoping for.
Reporters comparing dentists
From time to time we see reports about the variation of costs between dentists. Usually a 'senior' dentist is recruited to say what a volunteer patient needs and a guide price for that treatment.
The volunteer then goes to several dental practices for a checkup and treatment plan, and unsurpringly different plans at varying prices are produced. Deciding on treatment can be very complex, because it is a mixture of needs and wants and the dentists can only judge this on what the person says during that particular examination.
Costs do vary between dental practices and dentists within them. Some dentists are very experienced, have done a great deal of postgraduate training, have the latest equipment, and are highly skilled. Some are newly qualified, may have only completed twenty or thirty of the procedures, and have only basic equipment. Would you expect them to charge the same and deliver the same standard of work? Would you pay less and take your chances or more and be reassured?This is not to say that the second dentist will not surpass the quality of the first dentist during their working life, but for the time being there is no comparison.