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Updated on November 7, 2012


I remember to this very day some 66 years on asking my father where he was taking me to. He replied "to see a man about a dog ". At 6 you are very trusting of your parents but this trip put a big dent in mine. We ended up at a dentists, though butcher, torturer, sadist would have been a better description for this specimen of man"s inhumanity, if not to man, at least to small children.

it seemed an eternity as, without any form of anesthetic he ground away at my milk teeth using a foot treadle and what must have been the bluntest of drills. Even my father in later years confessed to being more than a little disturbed at the agony I underwent.

It was to be 15 years later whilst at College that I was persuaded to visit a dental surgery voluntarily. This only came about as the realisation dawned that after you reached 21 in those days, you had to fork out cash to be hurt ! That plus fellow students singing the praises of the College dentist persuaded me to go for inspection and treatment. Some weeks and 20 fillings later, I was advised by said dentist, who had lived up to his reputation for humane practices, that I had good teeth and should take care of them.

Somewhat reassured, I then became a regular attender for check ups as called for by the various practices that I enrolled in over the years as I changed my own location. The National Health Service in UK afforded me decent treatment over the years at generally reasonable fee rates. However, over the years, as Privatisation of treatments became fashionable, so did the NHS rise ever higher We now have a three tier treatment charge rate for NHS patients and these days it seems to always cost me around £50 for 25 minutes of subsidised treatment. Clearly the NHS has buckled under pressure from the profession deciding it would first and foremost become a trade and adopt a take it or leave it attitude to the Heath Scheme as they developed more and more private patients from ever growing so called Insurance Plans. As a person who has received private treatment in the past let me ,at once, say there was no difference in the treatment offered or given, Indeed both Private and NHS treatments. however the feeling prevails that commercial interest is increasingly evident and that sometimes, the pushing of products and other services may not be entirely without question.

Progress in equipment has been dramatic over the past years and nowadays thankfully, a visit to the surgery is not something that will keep one awake at night contemplating the pain potential. On the other hand, there could be a case for saying that one pain has been exchanged for another, the pain of cost !


As a result of Chemotherapy, my teeth and gums have taken a battering over recent times and I am, as a result in the middle of a course of Treatment for my NHS £50 app. My dentist currently is a pleasant, efficient and very competent young man who tells me that I will inevitably lose some teeth regardless of the treatment given. Is it just me or can I already hear the chinging of the surgery till ? Leaving that aside, he does provide me with good advice on how I can help myself to hold on to my ivories for a bit longer and I was pleased to see that his advice mirrored that given wider publicity recently. Thus, for no charge, here is sound advice to follow to help your teeth, and your Bank balance eventually.

1. TOOTHPASTES. The best advice is to use those that contain Fluoride and shun those that offer whitening and enamel building.

2. MOUTHWASHES. Again use one containing Fluoride. Avoid those containing alcohol { can cause risk of oral cancer} and take care with those containing Chlorhexidine, using only if instructed by your dentist. My dentist has me using Corsodyl at the moment and I shall query this at my next appointment.

3. PLAQUE REMOVAL. 2 minutes brushing time twice daily is recommended whilst most brush for less than one minute and often only once daily. Brushing on rising is recommended to remove bacteria formed in the mouth and to stop it reaching food.

4. TOOTHBRUSHES. Electric brushes are more effective at plaque removal than manual. Toothpaste pea sized is sufficient. Brushing with a rotating movement is best and do not forget to brush along the gum lines.

5. BLEEDING GUMS. Do not panic if gums bleed as this can show you are reaching plaque but do discuss with your dentist who will certainly advise continued flossing or inter dental brushing.

6 INCIDENTALS. a] Remember crooked teeth encourage decay, so have them straightened.

b} Tooth Whitening is a job for the dentist only.Check before doing anything.

c} Avoid veneers, they can damage your teeth.

7. COSTS. If you are Private, then you can perhaps shop around but generally dental treatment is an area for most that this is either not possible or not considered. Most people are encouraged to simply pay up and SMILE !


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