How can I find affordable dental treatment?
I've always been lucky enough to have access to an NHS dentist, but it has now closed. The problem is that all the other dentists local to me are private and there are no NHS lists. As I earn just £15,000 and live in London, I can't afford to spend hundreds on dental treatment, especially crown replacements, which I will need within the next year. Are there any ways of finding affordable dental treatment or insurance that will help me pay for my treatment?
Ask The Professionals: Joanne Roberts, director at online IFA NeedAnAdviser.com, says:
To locate a dentist that still does NHS work, contact NHS Direct, on 0845 4647. You can also view details online on the NHS Direct website.
You say that your NHS dentist has closed. NHS Direct says that, in this event, the funds and responsibility to provide NHS dentistry remain with your Primary Care Trust (PCT).
In an emergency, NHS dental care is always available, whether or not you have a regular dentist, and the PCT is responsible for providing the treatment you need. This is one benefit of the new NHS Dentistry Regulations that were introduced on 1 April 2006. There are lists of NHS dentists available on the NHS Direct website. Some only take emergencies but others are open to take on new patients.
Dental insurance is becoming increasing popular because, as you have discovered for yourself, NHS treatment is becoming increasingly hard to access. Private dental insurance contributes towards the cost of routine treatment as well as treatment for serious dental-problems and dental emergencies.
Private medical insurance
PMI allows you to skip the NHS waiting list and arrange treatment at a time you choose. With most PMI policies, you pay a monthly premium (the older you are, generally the higher premium) and the policy will then pay out, up to specified cover limits and after an agreed excess, for any treatment you might need. Not all conditions are covered by PMI and you get what you pay for: the more cover you want, the higher your premium will be.
A financial adviser who is not tied to any financial services company (such as a bank or insurance company) and is authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). They can advise on financial products to suit your circumstances. All IFAs have to give consumers the choice of paying by fees or commission and have to explain which would best suit the customer in that particular instance. Also, if commission is paid either by the client or the financial service provider recommended by the IFA, the IFA must disclose what that commission is.