Questions you were too Afraid to Ask the Dentist
Dentists are a good thing. They’re here to help prevent problems and solve ones that have already arisen. But some people desperately put off paying one a visit because they have questions or concerns that they’re too afraid or embarrassed to ask. Dr Howard Forge, owner of Santa Ponsa Dental Practice, is here to put your mind at rest…
I am too scared to go, what shall I do?
“You are not alone. I have seen plenty of nervous patients over the years and for sure you won’t be the worst. Some older patients are anxious as they remember the dentist of years gone by – rest assured that times have changed. Modern dentists are odour free, the drills are much quieter and the needles far smaller. In fact dentistry is more advanced and comfortable than ever, most people really don’t mind coming at all.”
Will I be made to feel embarrassed about my bad teeth?
“Categorically no, it’s what I’m here for – to turn bad teeth into a healthy smile you’re proud of.”
Will you make me feel guilty about my smoking or drinking habits?
“I am not here to judge, but if aspects of your lifestyle are affecting your oral health it would be unprofessional of me not to point them out. Sadly too some treatments are slower to heal in heavy smokers. Of course quitting smoking won’t only improve your teeth, gums and breath, it’ll also do wonders for your stress, energy and fertility levels, and help in the fight against cancer and heart disease. But you knew that anyway…”
Can you offer sedation or general anaesthetic?
“You can’t have general anaesthetic in a dentist chair in Spain, nor can you in the UK for that matter, only anaesthetists can do this. Likewise sedation can only be administered by certain specially-trained and equipped practices. At Santa Ponsa Dental Practice we offer local anaesthetic, an injection with a very fine needle – if you prefer preceded by topical anaesthesia or ‘numbing gel’. For treatments we will ensure everything is numb enough while we’re working!”
Why can’t I just have a clean? Why do you charge me for a check-up as well?
“If you’re an existing patient of ours and you have had a recent check-up, of course you can come in just for a clean. However, if you’re a new patient, or haven’t had a check-up for a while, it’s my professional duty to do a thorough examination. The Consejo Dentistas requests that all dental practices operate in this manner. I need to understand your oral health and advise if you have more deep-seated problems that need attention – to protect both me and you.”
Why is it so expensive to go to the dentist?
“There are three things to mention here. Firstly, dental costs vary wildly from practice to practice, this can reflect how well it’s equipped, whether the dentist works alone or with a nurse, and his/her experience and expertise. Secondly, and related, a dental practice costs a lot of money to establish and run in terms of equipment and staff. Lastly, believe me when I say it’s more expensive not to go to the dentist – prevention is better than cure.”
Isn’t it cheaper to go to the UK?
“In a 2016 study, WhatClinic revealed that the national average cost for a simple check-up at a private dentist in the UK is £51, an increase of 42% compared to 2015. The average cost of dental implants has also increased by 42% to £2,814. If you factor in flights, I can’t see how it’s cheaper to see a UK-based dentist. Other places in the world are cheaper for dentistry but who will you turn to if or when it goes wrong? Also many treatments require multiple visits over a certain timeframe, so you may have to factor in several flights. As always, the choice is entirely yours.”
Do you see children? Orthodontics?
“Absolutely, it’s a great idea to get small children into the routine of dental check-ups as soon as they have a set of primary teeth – around three years old. We have an orthodontist who hosts consultations here at the Practice a couple of times a month, she is expert in both clear aligners and more traditional braces.”
Do you accept insurance?
“We don’t, you have to pay for your treatment at the Practice. However we do provide official invoices and can stamp insurance forms in case you have the ability to claim the money back.”
Everything’s fine, why should I go? How often should I go?
“At risk of repeating myself, prevention is better than cure. Once I’ve seen you I can advise how often you should come back – usually six, nine or 12 months depending on your oral health. As you get older the more likely you are to need more intervention – it’s just the way life goes.”