Although the advances in dental technology which have taken place in recent years have greatly broadened the demographic of people who can access cutting edge cosmetic treatments, there is still the thorny issue of price to be overcome. The days when a perfectly straight and even smile was the preserve of Hollywood superstars and other celebrities might have gone, but there’s still no getting away from the fact that many treatments – particularly those which achieve the most spectacular transformations – are still very expensive, and this means that anyone genuinely unsatisfied with the condition of their smile (which, realistically, includes most people) will have to think long and hard about budgeting for the required treatment. Tracking down affordable cosmetic dental treatments in London is by no means impossible, but it does require a degree of forethought, planning and research. There are various tips which the well-informed patient will find themselves able to make use of when it comes to sourcing affordable dental care, other than the option of paying out expensive monthly insurance premiums aimed at covering all eventualities. The following are just a few of the options available:
Universities, hospitals, clinics and schools of dentistry regularly carry out trials to evaluate the effectiveness of various new forms of medication or treatment. Volunteer for a trial of this kind, and you may well be offered free dental care in return.
Many of the online daily deal websites feature coupons offering cut price treatment, two for one offers and similar money saving opportunities. You may need to search extensively to find a deal which exactly matches the treatment you want to access, but if you do then you’ll be able to save significant amounts of money.
Discount Dental Plans
Many clinics offer dental plans which, for a smaller monthly fee than most insurance schemes, will offer a range of treatments and other perks such as regular check-ups and appointments with a dental hygienist.
Many dental hospitals offer treatments provided by dental students who are in the process of training to be fully qualified dental technicians. Although the treatment is often free or at least cut price, the fact that it will be supervised by lecturers who are well qualified dental practitioners in their own right, means that it will be of the highest possible quality.
Some practices are willing to offer reduced prices for treatment in return for patients paying in advance. Discuss this option with your local clinic and you may well discover that you can negotiate a meaningful discount.
It may well be that you have a skill or ability which you are able to offer to your dental clinic in return for a reduction in your bill. This is particularly relevant if your dentist owns their own practice and will be grateful for the offer of help with things such as book-keeping or refurbishment. You help to transform their clinic and perhaps they’ll reciprocate by working on the transformation of your smile.
Dental benefits at Work
Some jobs come complete with membership of a dental insurance plan as part of the remuneration package. Although this is not yet as widespread in the UK as it is in some other countries, you may still, particularly if you are able to offer a wide range of ability and experience, be able to barter such a plan as part of your package during the interview stage, or the next time you are due to negotiate a pay rise.
Although some cosmetic treatments aren’t covered by the National Health Service (NHS), it’s still well worth getting in touch with your local clinics and finding out exactly what they do offer for those patients who are eligible for NHS treatment. At the very least, your clinic might offer the kind of regular check-ups that can act in a preventative manner, dealing with problems before they cause too much damage.
Some charitable organisations offer free dental treatment to eligible patients, particularly those who are unable to access such treatment elsewhere.
Common Oral Health Misconceptions
Dealing with patients day in and day out, as we do at Perfect Smile, means that we get to hear the kind of questions which lay people, without the requisite knowledge of dental health and well-being, are most likely to ask. In many cases, the nature of these questions indicates some misconceptions about the nature of dental health and the steps required to maintain it. Amongst the mistakes most commonly made are the following:
Oral health is a separate issue to general health
Patients tend to assume that good oral health is involved solely with the condition of their teeth and gums, but the truth is that problems inside the mouth can often be an early indicator of problems elsewhere. Research has shown that gum disease, for example, is linked to various other medical problems such as heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and strokes. Taking care of the health of your mouth, then, will not only ensure the attractiveness of your smile and the condition of your teeth, it will help to boost your overall health.
Many patients tend to view flossing as merely an optional addition to their general oral hygiene, but, as any dental hygienist will tell you, flossing regularly is just as important as maintaining a strict programme of brushing. Using floss, and using it properly, as demonstrated by your hygienist, will clean out the decaying food particles which sometimes lodge between teeth, causing problems such as bad breath and the build-up of damaging plaque.
Patients tend to get two things wrong when considering gum disease. The first is that they don’t treat it as seriously as tooth decay. In some ways, this is understandable, since a decaying tooth is a clear and easily noticed problem. Gum disease, if left unchecked, however, can develop and worsen to the point at which the teeth themselves become loose in the gum and eventually fall out. Another misconception is that gums can only be diseased if they are actually bleeding, and that the absence of blood when brushing automatically means the absence of gum disease. The truth, however, is that swollen and tender gums might be indicative of disease, and that brushing them too hard, in an effort to ‘clean the problem away’, will merely make the problem worse and damage the gums. Using an electric toothbrush, on the other hand, will ensure sufficient cleaning of the teeth without the exertion of undue pressure.
Many adults suffer with teeth which are crooked, overcrowded or protrude too much, and don’t access the treatment required due to a fear that it will mean having obtrusive metal braces fitted, braces which will be uncomfortable and will look even worse than the problem they are intended to solve. The truth of the matter, however, is that many modern orthodontic techniques have moved on, and can now solve problems of this kind in a manner which is far more convenient and comfortable. Some metal braces, for example, are made of fine, lightweight metal and can shift the patients’ teeth in just six months. The Invisalign system of treatments, on the other hand, consists of a set of bespoke, ultra-lightweight, transparent plastic retainers, which are simple to slip on and take off whilst eating and cleaning, and which are genuinely all but invisible to the naked eye.
Teeth whitening techniques, which used to consist of several weeks or months’ worth of treatment, combining visits to the clinic with bleaching agents applied within the patients home, can now be applied in as little as a single visit to the clinic, utilising stronger bleaching agents and boosting laser lights. The length of time you wish to spend having your teeth whitened will depend upon how much brighter you wish them to be, but it is now possible to have the enamel of your teeth lifted by as much as four shades in time for a crucial one off event such as a wedding, job interview or photo shoot.
Overarching all of the above points is a simple principle – The more diligent a patient is regarding getting their teeth checked, the better their dental health is likely to be, since attending the clinic for regular check-ups will mean that your dentist can spot problems before they become entrenched and offer the suitable treatment, whilst regular appointments with a hygienist will ensure that patients do no slip into any bad habits as far as cleaning their teeth is concerned. Covering the cost of such regular visits will prove to be much less expensive than paying for unexpected emergency treatments. The Perfect Smile Dental plan is a monthly payment scheme which offers membership in return for a regular, affordable monthly fee. Joining the plan means you get to choose between two different levels of membership, each one of which is designed to lower the incidence of fillings, tooth loss and dental decay, whilst keeping costs down and cementing a relationship between dentist and patient which is designed to boost your chances of a lifetime of excellent dental health.