What is the Difference Between NHS and Private Dentistry in the UK?

In the UK, there is a distinct difference between NHS and private dentistry. NHS dentistry is designed to be functional, while private dentistry is often functional and cosmetic. Private care is usually more expensive than NHS care, but it offers a wider range of services. Private clinics are attempting to redefine the doctor-patient relationship by providing a more personal and reassuring experience.

The time allocated to each patient is one of the main differences between NHS and private dentistry. Consultations are warmer and more reassuring as dentists take the time needed to understand what the patient wants and explain the details of their condition and what the treatment entails. There is even a trend in luxury private dental care, where clinics invest in high-end decorations to make the whole process seem less intimidating. This approach can be beneficial for those with dental anxiety or families with young children who fear the dentist, as it can motivate people to adopt good oral health habits.

In terms of children's dentistry, for example, the experience children have in private clinics means that they miss fewer routine checkups and improve oral hygiene in adulthood. As a private patient, you can choose the private dentist you would like to visit and see the same dentist every time. NHS dental treatment does not cover any cosmetic treatment that is only to improve your appearance, such as teeth whitening, and that is not clinically necessary. It's best to talk to your dentist about the private and NHS options available so you can make an informed decision.

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