I recently needed an emergency appointment with a dentist; any dentist I could see. But the advice I received shocked me more than the problem itself, especially after learning that I had probably been misinformed.
I’ve got to admit, I don’t go to the dentist as much as I probably should, or take the best care of my teeth. But no matter how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ you are with your pearly whites, you should always be given the right treatment and advice, filling you with confidence that you can trust your dentist and what they’re saying.
But sadly my confidence was vastly diminished by a rushed appointment with a London dentist a few months ago…
Getting to the root of the problem
I had noticed that my gum had receded in one place, panicking me, making me fear that all my teeth were going to fall out.
So I scrambled around to find an NHS dentist near me that could see me at short notice – I am still only registered at a private one near where my parents live. Thankfully I found one that could see me the next day for a 10 minute appointment. I say thankfully, but in retrospect, it just cost me more money (£18) and worry.
Sitting nervously in the dentist’s chair, I was told that not only would I need a filling for the gum problem, but I would also need to have a complete reconstruction of my bite as that was apparently the cause of the problem. Alarm bells rung as I have always known I have an unusual bite, but it has never been pointed out as a problem before with any other dentist.
Even more concerned than I initially was, I took the plunge financially (£50) and forked out to see one of the dentists at the private clinic near my parents for a second opinion. A totally different take on the problem, he advised that I should have a hygienist clean, not a filling, and that my bite was only something that would need attention for cosmetic reasons.
Brushing up on my consumer rights
Relieved at having some reassurance, it left me questioning: how do you know what advice to trust and where can you turn if you’re concerned? The emergency appointment was rushed, and maybe with a proper full-length one it would have been different story. But there’s no way of knowing, and I could have gone ahead with getting a potentially needless filling.
Either way, I was certainly glad that I got a second opinion. I didn’t realise it at the time but, if you’re worried about the advice you have been given, you have the right to make a complaint about your dentist. So have you ever been given advice that concerned you? And have you ever complained?