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This spring the British Government is forcing a new service contract on dentists including new pay scales, changes in opening hours and surgery arrangements.
Now dentists are not normally a complaining profession, but there’s now open rebellion amongst them about this new contract. And they’re determined not to be bullied.
As a result, thousands of dentists are refusing to accept the new contract and will quit the NHS at the end of March. This will create mayhem for clients – and especially for the five million of us who seek emergency treatment for toothache each year!
Many clients seeking treatment on the NHS will just be refused treatment. And those dentists who accept the new NHS contract will face a flood of new clients. The vast majority will again be turned away as even before this dental bust up, there was an appalling shortage of dentists. Waiting lists are bound to stretch into the ether!
As a result, if you’re desperate for treatment to a broken tooth or an abscess, or even want a check up, you’ll be forced to search out one of the community based and NHS operated dental surgeries. If you’re not sure where to find one, ask your Doctor for details of the closest to you. Unfortunately, the odds are it’ll be miles away. Long journeys and a hospital style queue will be the norm. Getting dental treatment will be a days job!
For many of us, going private is the only practical solution. The cynical amongst us may suspect that that’s what the Government wanted all along!
Going private means getting an appointment when you want one rather than waiting for ages with the NHS, and the ability to pick and choose your dentist. But it won’t be cheap. The only good news is there are solutions to control your costs.
Essentially you have four financial options: pay yourself as you go, dental insurance, capitalisation schemes or cash plans. Let’s consider the financial help you can buy:
The insurance industry has responded with a wide range of varying dental insurance policies. The following are just a few typical examples to give you a favour:
The Axa PPP Healthcare’s Dental Costguard policy is designed to cover you just for dental emergencies and not routine work – you’ll have to pay those cost all by yourself. But emergency treatment often works out expensive so Axa’s policy does have merit. Axa’s benefits include:
o Up to £10,000 cover per year for treatment following a dental accident (up to £2,500 per incident).
o Up to £250 emergency temporary treatment per incident in the UK and £500 per incident if you’re overseas. That’s up to a maximum payout of £1,000 per year.
o Up to £100 per incident for dentist call-out charges upto £200 per year.
o £50 per night if you’r in hospital under the care of a maxillo-facial or oral surgeon. Again, that’s subject to a £1,000 annual maximum.
o Oral cancer is insured up to up to £25,000.
o Dentist’s charges are reimbursed directly to you.
o And Axa provides a 24 hour helpline providing dental advice.
And the cost? It’s £7.95 per month for a single policy or £9.95 for a policy to insure a couple.
If you want a policy that covers both emergency and routine work, a policy such as WPS’s Providential policy could fit the bill. It provides a basic level of dentistry cover. Policyholders have to pay the first 25% of each treatment but can claim up to £250 per year towards routine treatment including check-ups, visits to the hygienist and fillings. Emergency dental treatment can be claimed up to £1,000 per year but cover for accidental dental injury is limited to £250 per treatment. For those aged between 18 and 49 the premium is £12.48 and it’s £15.90 per month for those aged between 50 and 69.
For only £6 per month you can get basic dental cover with Universal Provident. Their policy insures you for up to £1,000 per year for routine work but it won’t pay for check-ups. Accidental damage up to £1,000 per year and dental emergencies are insured up to £5,000 per year.
Many policies also place a maximum on the number of dental treatments they’ll pay for each year. For example, the policy from Boot’s limits your claims to two check-ups, one crown and four fillings a year up to £500. Boot’s policies start at £9 per month.
So, as you can see from this tiny selection of policies, there are lots of options and lots of aspects to consider.
These are more expensive – but you pay for what you get! Before taking up a policy, your dentist has to make an assessment of your dental health and place you in one of, normally, five treatment groups. This will determine how much your scheme costs. The better your dental condition, the less you pay.
For example, Denplan’s dental care scheme costs between £9 and £30 per month and they tell us that the average price is £16.
Cash Back Plans
The last alternative is a combined health cash plan. Dental care is covered along with a wide range of other health treatments such as optical treatment, hospital treatment, physiotherapy, chiropody even allergy testing. Each policy spells out exactly what is insured and the maximum value you can claim to for each type of health treatment. There’s plenty of choice as most cash back plans offer three or four alternative levels of benefit. The more you pay, the more you are able to claim.
Some plans allow you to reclaim all of the cost up to the annual maximum set in each health category; some will only pay a proportion of the cost. With cash back plans, the maximum cover for dentistry tends to be in the £70 to £200 per year range depending on the policy you choose and the level of cover you choose.
For examples of back cash plans, visit the following web sites and click on “cash plans” when you get there: http://www.securehealth.co.uk and [http://www.hsa.co.uk].
How to find the best deals in Dental cover
As with most types of insurance, you’ll find it cheapest on the Internet. Many companies give a 10% discount for buying on the Internet. Search for “dental insurance” but use the UK variant of your favourite search engine – otherwise masses of American sites will pop up!
The best sites are those that either compare dental plans or those which are operated by a specialist dental insurance broker. With these brokers, you submit your details and come back with the options and dental policies that best suit your requirements. They’ll also be on the look out for special offers.
But if are determined to go direct to an insurance company, you can still do it on the Internet – but it’s unlikely that you’ll stumble on exactly the best policy! There are so many to choose from! And the broker will probably find it for you cheaper. So, it will come as no surprise to you that we recommend the broker route!
What is Invisalign? Invisalign is the most recent teeth straightening appliance to be placed on the market and has quickly become the most popular type of braces. One of the primary advantages found with these braces is that they are completely clear and are practically invisible to the naked eye when worn. This provides patients with the means of keeping their beautiful smile even when wearing braces. These braces also work somewhat differently than standard braces, as metal braces are a permanent solution that are only removed once the teeth have moved completely to their desired position, while these clear braces can actually be removed for brushing, flossing and eating.
This is due to the fact that this option makes use of a set of aligners that are placed on the lower and upper portions of the teeth. These aligner trays are comprised entirely of clear plastic and are worn for incremental periods of time until they are switched out for new ones. When considering these braces for your teeth straightening needs, there are a lot of factors that go into the decision making process, including costs, how long they will need to be worn for and the pros and cons of selecting clear braces as opposed to metal ones. Though these aligners are removable at any time, they are meant to be worn for at least 20 hours every day. This specific product was created by Align Technology and placed on the market in 1999.
What Do Invisalign Braces Cost? Are you considering Invisalign braces? Invisalign is a type of orthodontic treatment that helps to straighten teeth without the use of the typical metal braces. Invisalign has quickly revolutionized the orthodontics world. Now patients have a different option besides ugly metal brackets. Invisalign involves wearing a series of custom-made clear plastic aligners that help shift your teeth into the proper position. Patients who would have never considered braces before are now giving Invisalign a shot. For many people, though, the choice comes down to cost. How much do Invisalign braces cost? Are they worth the money, or are you better off going the traditional route?
The typical price of Invisalign braces is usually a bit higher than regular braces. The average cost, according to the manufacturer, is between $3,500 and $8,000. Your dentist or orthodontist can give you a better estimate of the price. The factors that come into play are the extent of the alignment your teeth require and how many aligners you need throughout the treatment. The typical cost of regular braces varies widely, but is usually in the range of $2,500 to $6,000. Again, the cost varies on a case-by-case basis, depending on your individual needs, and should be discussed with your dentist. Most dental insurance plans cover Invisalign just as they would regular braces, but check with the insurance company first to determine the extent of their coverage.
What Do Invisalign Braces Cost? In the end, it is up to you and your orthodontist to decide which is the best treatment for your individual case. The average Invisalign price is not that much higher than regular braces and the unique advantages Invisalign offers – like being able to take the aligners out to eat and brush your teeth – often outweigh the slight difference in price. If cost is a big concern for you, talk to your dentist about payment options. Many providers will offer flexible monthly payment plans to spread out the Invisalign braces cost over a longer period.