The Times newspaper came up with a snippet of interesting information recently about the amount of money the NHS was spending on people choosing to make an appointment with their GP when they had a tooth ache rather than their dentist. In fact, the NHS has been spending no less than £26 million every year on people’s visits to their doctors for teeth problems. In numbers that works out to be 600,000 appointments.
It doesn’t take too much to work out the reason for this and that’s the GP doesn’t cost anything while dental appointments always attract fees, unless you’re a child, regardless of the reason why you need to go. For a dental check under the NHS it costs £19.70. Many people don’t stick to the twice annual recommendations for dental appointments but only go when they really need to, so if extreme pain inflicts them it’s just as easy to go to the doctor and not the dentist, even if you are told a dentist is the only person qualified to fix the problem.
Apart from these reasons, fear of the dentist is another reason people choose a doctor rather than a dentist. People expect to experience some level of pain when visiting a dentist which they of course want to avoid at all costs. A final reason is that many people don’t know how to differentiate between when to go to a dentist and not a doctor.
When should you visit a dentist?
If you are not sure whether to visit a dentist take a look at the list of symptoms below. They are definitely dental issues which are better treated by a dentist.
- Painful wisdom tooth
- Abscess on the gum or tooth area
- Tooth that’s chipped or cracked
- Painful jaw
- Filling has fallen out
- Bridge or crown is loose or lost
- Presence of mouth ulcers
- Patches in the mouth which are red or white.
If you were involved in an accident and your teeth were damaged don’t wait to see a dentist but go to your A&E department immediately to get the necessary treatment.
Your teeth need regular attention to avoid problems
One good reason to visit your dentist apart from sorting out tooth pain is to get help with keeping your teeth in good condition. There are several options like a thorough cleaning either by the dentist or dental hygienist that are quite affordable and can help to keep your teeth in good shape in the long term.
If you don’t adopt these sorts of preventative measures, at some point in time you might need to rush down to the emergency department because you are in so much pain. A dentist’s job is to prevent pain and if you and your family attend regular dental check-ups you will see your dentist as a person who cares about your teeth and your overall health and doesn’t intend to inflict pain on you.