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Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Friday, 19 February 2010
Dentist treatment too expensive?
Dentist
How often do you visit the dentist?

The amount of people regularly attending a dentist is at its lowest figure in 9 years, and a Northamptonshire man wants this to change.

Alistair McKendrick from the Northamptonshire British Dental Association has seen a large fall in attendance since 2006.

"It's really disheartening," he said.

41% of people don't go because of the cost, 28% because of the pain and 25% say they can't find an NHS dentist.

"The main reason people don't attend the dentist is the price and it's a shame. Your teeth are a really important part of your body and you need to take care of them" said Alistair.

The Cost

The price of NHS treatment for a check up, scale and polish is £16.50, for a filling it's £45.60 and for a crown or denture it's £198.00.

"The government has introduced tooth taxing for the NHS dentistry and this is why the prices are so high. I believe it's the government's fault why many don't attend the dentist as they simply can't afford it," he said.

Sarah Dunn from Northampton hasn't seen the dentist for over 10 years.

NHS Dental Cost
Check up - £16.50
Scale & Polish - £16.50
Filling - £45.60
Crown or Denture - £198.00

"I am worried that if I were to go in for a simple check up the dentist may find bigger problems, and I could end up with a huge bill. I have a family to look after and simply don't have the money to pay for it," said Sarah.

This situation is a common one, and Alistair feels dentists need to be clearer on explaining the cost to people.

"If you take your car to the garage for a M.O.T you may find it needs more work than first thought which is similar to the dentist. That's a fear of many, but this is where your dentist should fully explain costing and products to you," he said.

Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Health said: "We're transforming the support system to make it simpler and more affordable. We will soon be setting out our plans for a new National Care Service free for those living at home with the highest needs."

Until then, Alistair recommends seeing a dentist at least once a year even if people are worried about the cost.

"It's not just your teeth a dentist looks at but gums and even cancerous ulcers so it's best to get the check up," he said

If you are worried about the costs of a dentist contact the NHS Dental Service website.




SEE ALSO
Should we pay more for dentistry?
16 Sep 09 |  Health
NHS dentistry 'tops cost league'
10 Jan 08 |  Health
Huge swings in dental prices
06 Sep 01 |  Health

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