If you are finding it difficult to find a dentist who offers NHS treatment the following information will explain why, and suggest an attractive alternative.
Changes to the way dentists are paid, from April 2006, will make it harder to find a dentist who takes NHS patients.
You could pay for treatment yourself, or take out dental insurance.
Finding a dentist who offers NHS treatment looks like becoming even more difficult when new legislation comes into effect in April. The new rules mean that dentists will not be able to choose which patients they treat on the NHS. They must decide whether to treat all types of NHS patients or none at all, which is likely to push many dentists into choosing private-only work.
Dentists who provide a children-only NHS service, while treating adults privately, will be forced to offer NHS treatment to adults as well, or drop NHS services completely. This forced choice is expected to greatly increase the numbers of dental practices abandoning NHS treatment and taking private patients only.
Nearly a third of dentists in some parts of England have refused to sign NHS contracts In the South West, 29 per cent of dentists have refused to sign up ; in the Thames Valley, 15 per cent; in Hampshire, 18 per cent; in Yorkshire, 23 per cent; and in the West Midlands, 24 per cent.
In south-west London, the figure is 12 per cent; in Manchester, 11 per cent; in Kent, 14 per cent; and in Dorset, 15 per cent. In Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, 23 per cent have not signed up
With routine visits to the dentist often costing up to £100, taking out cover to protect yourself from these costs can be worthwhile, especially if you go to see your dentist every six months.
For many people, the only way to get dental treatment in the future will be to use a private practice. Dental insurance is a way of controlling costs.