Friday, 19 June 2009

My teeth or yours?

I finally have the ever coveted NHS dentist. Previously I was down as a private patient, which was fine, as it meant only paying a few pounds more and still having the same dentist as the Frenchman who is more than a little dentophobic so that we could make appointments together and I could be sure that he actually went.

In the UK, you no longer have to pay for dentistry while pregnant and for the first year of motherhood. So, wanting to jump on this, I made an appointment. I mentioned on the phone that I was 8 months pregnant, but the receptionist said as I was on the economy plan I was not entitled to free dental while pregnant. I think they need to review the name "economy plan".

I kept the apt. regardless, got the all clear from the Dentist and when I asked about being an NHS patient instead of a private patient, he said not a problem, scribbled some stuff on my forms and said "this is now free!". I then asked about seeing the hygienist (Unlike in the states, you don't automatically get your teeth cleaned when you see the dentist, you book and pay for a hygienist separately). The Dentist said not to get my teeth cleaned until after I've seen him in 6 months time because getting them cleaned could "mask" problems he would need to see. Mask? or FIX the problem. Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful to now have an NHS dentist, but it's differences like these between UK and US dentistry that make Austin Powers' bad teeth gag feel closer to the truth than one would like.

Once at the receptionist she told me that that would be £16. I told her the Dentist had just said that it was free.... She then asked what makes me exempt from paying. I stood on my tip toes to show her my belly and said I'm pregnant. Everyone laughed and I was waved out the door without paying a pence.

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