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Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

Old Oct 28th 2014, 8:00 am
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Default Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

Or should I say, which country is the least bad? In the US, high cost makes access a problem, and, as far as I know, the government health program for poor people (medicaid) does not cover dental in many states. Back in the UK, for some bizarre reason, access is also a problem, even though the NHS supposedly s available to all. I just don't understand how dental availability can be so subpar in the Uk when great strides have been made by NHS in all other fields.

Quality is probably the same in both countries, although my dentist (and his cleaning nurses) here in the US seems to be much more extensive when I visit every six months.

Cost here is a scandal, and dental insurance is largely useless.

I honestly don't know if I could accurately answer the question of which country does dental better.
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Old Oct 28th 2014, 2:31 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

I moved from the UK to the usa 4 years ago. I'm in Florida and when I moved here I signed up through my husbands benefits for dental coverage and made an appointment. The first dentist I went to wanted $1500 for a cleaning as I had (so they said) extensive gum disease. The told me as a new mother I NEEDED to get this treatment as gum disease could lead to cancer and I could die! I got the cleaning and left. Last year I switched and went to another dentist. He did the cleaning for free but said I needed 3 crowns which would cost around $4000. At that point I called my sister in Glasgow and asked her to make a private appointment with her NHS dentist for me. I flew over for 2 weeks. Met the nice NHS dentist, told him I would be paying privately as I was not entitled to NHS benefits. He told me I needed 3 fillings and was APPALLED that the U.S. dentist told me I needed crowns. He said as dentist you are always taught to try and preserve the tooth if you can....not grind it down and put a crown on it unless that is the only course of action you are left with. He said my teeth would be perfectly fine with fillings. He charged me a couple of hundred pounds. I've just resolved to go see him once a year when I fly home. I just don't trust dentists in the USA. When you are motivated by money and profits you are going to TRY to find problems!
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Old Oct 28th 2014, 3:01 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

Originally Posted by Cornelius Suttree View Post
Cost here is a scandal, and dental insurance is largely useless.
I think it very much depends on finding the right dentist.
I too have faced ridiculous claims of extensive and expensive dental work. I sought a 2nd opinion with a dentist a colleague used and trusted, and had a very good experience.

I don't think dental work here is expensive if you find the right dentist. I'm extremely happy with my current dentist.
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Old Oct 28th 2014, 3:55 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

The quality of dentistry in the USA is about on a par with the UK. Mostly good, some bad.
One big difference is in attitude to treatment, at dental school in the USA they are taught that full-coverage crowns are the best long-term solution, whilst in Europe (not just UK) the dentists are taught to conserve as much good tooth tissue as possible.
Periodontal disease is more of a priority here in the US, for very, very good reasons. More and more health problems are being linked to gum disease. In the UK, dental hygiene is a poor relative in terms of payment and attitude.

It does cost a fortune here but then so does the training of the dentist...4 years undergraduate and then dentistry post grad. Liability insurance costs a lot in the USA too (although the UK dentists get sued more often!) This has to be paid for from somewhere.

I think the best investment you can make is getting your gums super healthy:
visits to the hygienist 3 monthly or 6 monthly,
Floss is your cheapest best friend, learn how to use it and er...use it.

If you're unhappy with your dentist/quote then ask around for recommendations and get a second opinion.
I have a great dentist but his prices in suburban Austin are what my colleagues in Harley street charge and they seem to be about what others charge around here.

Swings and roundabouts in the USA with the cost of stuff. Gas is cheap though. xx
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Old Oct 28th 2014, 4:08 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

I haven't been to a dentist here yet, well not since I was a child, so I can't comment on US dentists, but I struggled to find a good NHS dentist when I was in the UK.

The last practice I was registered with was terrible. The dentists changed every six months and each new dentist was constantly trying to push me in to private treatment for things which are covered by the NHS, like a yearly cleaning. One of them even tried to pretend that I could only have my teeth cleaned privately by their hygienist. I was also shouted at by one for booking a private appointment for a filing, though I wanted NHS treatment. Needless to say I pointed out that his reception staff book the appointments, not me.

Dragging my heels about shorting out a check-up here as I know they're going to push all kind of treatment.
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Old Oct 28th 2014, 4:28 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

NHS dentistry is in crisis. The payment system is a mess, it is underfunded and the dept of health constantly tries to limit availability of treatments to patients. Try googling Dr Tony Kilcoyne and you will see his attempts to bring to light some of the antics of the NHS and dentistry.
From a dental perspective...when you see a new patient for the first time and see dentistry that might be on it's last legs, see evidence of early decay on the xrays and find considerable gum disease, you can only advise that something needs to be done about it. There isn't really an option for leaving it and seeing what happens since you don't know the patient or how quickly problems develop, or how they will respond to hygienist care and home care. This kind of knowledge only comes with getting to know the patient and so you have to err on the side of caution.

However, a small filling is much cheaper to repair than a small filling which develops into a big filling (because that's what happens) which then needs a root filling ($1000?) and a crown ($1200?).

You can always ask the dentist to spread the treatment over a longer period of time if there's a fair bit to do.
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Old Oct 28th 2014, 6:06 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

For me, you only need to look how awful British people's teeth are compared to their American equivalents.
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Old Oct 28th 2014, 6:13 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

Originally Posted by indigogirl1976 View Post
I moved from the UK to the usa 4 years ago. I'm in Florida and when I moved here I signed up through my husbands benefits for dental coverage and made an appointment. The first dentist I went to wanted $1500 for a cleaning as I had (so they said) extensive gum disease. The told me as a new mother I NEEDED to get this treatment as gum disease could lead to cancer and I could die! I got the cleaning and left. Last year I switched and went to another dentist. He did the cleaning for free but said I needed 3 crowns which would cost around $4000. At that point I called my sister in Glasgow and asked her to make a private appointment with her NHS dentist for me. I flew over for 2 weeks. Met the nice NHS dentist, told him I would be paying privately as I was not entitled to NHS benefits. He told me I needed 3 fillings and was APPALLED that the U.S. dentist told me I needed crowns. He said as dentist you are always taught to try and preserve the tooth if you can....not grind it down and put a crown on it unless that is the only course of action you are left with. He said my teeth would be perfectly fine with fillings. He charged me a couple of hundred pounds. I've just resolved to go see him once a year when I fly home. I just don't trust dentists in the USA. When you are motivated by money and profits you are going to TRY to find problems!
You need to be VERY careful choosing a US dentist. My first dentist was as you describe and told me I needed a crown to replace a filling, or I would soon need a root canal. My second dentist, referred by YELP, is very conservative with treatment. He told me that there was no need to get the crown at that point BUT it would be required at some point (i got it 5 five years later). I find YELP is very useful for finding car mechanics and dentists...
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Old Oct 28th 2014, 7:08 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

Originally Posted by indigogirl1976 View Post
He told me I needed 3 fillings and was APPALLED that the U.S. dentist told me I needed crowns. He said as dentist you are always taught to try and preserve the tooth if you can....not grind it down and put a crown on it unless that is the only course of action you are left with. He said my teeth would be perfectly fine with fillings.
Yeah I've had that problem with US dentists as well.

Anyway, I know of a dentist here in Calgary who specializes in correcting NHS botch jobs, several dentists I've seen have mentioned her to me.

Strangely a friend of mine who lives in Florida had the same work done as me at the same time, and we compared our periodontist bills and my bill was about 80% of hers. Plus dentists here tend to be more ethical so they don't do pointless work.

So my advice is to check out how much it would cost to have any work done in Canada, US insurance usually covers work done in Canada.
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Old Oct 28th 2014, 7:10 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

Originally Posted by hungryhorace View Post
For me, you only need to look how awful British people's teeth are compared to their American equivalents.
Canadians have terrible teeth because they play hockey, fortunately we have really good dentists. I never cease to be amazed how many dentists there are here, I can think of three surgeries within a few hundred metres of where I live.
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Old Oct 28th 2014, 9:24 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

Originally Posted by hungryhorace View Post
For me, you only need to look how awful British people's teeth are compared to their American equivalents.
They've always seemed about the same to me - I've been in NY for 8 years now and see as many mangled American mouths as I saw in the UK

It's a tired old joke about the state of British teeth so I think people come to expect seeing awful ones - then when they do it 'proves' it, even if they've seen 99 totally find sets of British teeth.

Same with any myths really - see 99 slim Americans, but you remember the 1 large on because it 'proves' what everyone says.
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Old Oct 28th 2014, 9:41 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

Originally Posted by hungryhorace View Post
For me, you only need to look how awful British people's teeth are compared to their American equivalents.
I think it depends....there's some seriously horrid teeth here too...might be whiter, but not better. There's a reason there's an expression about "Summer teeth".

As for quality, can get great or shit care here.

The missus just had a filling and two old ones replaced, that's just over a grand. Luckily, we have insurance, so only stumped for $150 for it.
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Old Oct 28th 2014, 9:42 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

I live in florida and they are always looking for an exscuse to gouge you,a lot of times when you are allready in the chair..I now have an annual vacation in costa rica,when i am there i get a yearly treatment..deep cleaning, check up,4 x rays,bridge work checked for $120....never a hygienist,but the dentist...
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Old Oct 28th 2014, 9:55 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

Originally Posted by Egon View Post
They've always seemed about the same to me - I've been in NY for 8 years now and see as many mangled American mouths as I saw in the UK

It's a tired old joke about the state of British teeth so I think people come to expect seeing awful ones - then when they do it 'proves' it, even if they've seen 99 totally find sets of British teeth.

Same with any myths really - see 99 slim Americans, but you remember the 1 large on because it 'proves' what everyone says.
I didn't even know about the stereotype until I moved here. Now I'm aware of it, whenever I see British people on reality TV their teeth look absolutely awful. Compare those to the American teeth I see daily, well, there's no contest.
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Old Oct 28th 2014, 10:03 pm
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Default Re: Let's talk Dentistry- which country does it better?

Both countries have good dental services if you can afford to pay for them,

Having had NHS dental care throughout my life while in the UK, I eventually went to a private dentist and was very pleased with his much more comprehensive care of my teeth. (NHS dentists appear to be all about saving the meagre amount of money they get for treating you).

Similarly in the US - comprehensive service is offered - but at a (high) price.
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