Always ask your dentist whether the treatment they're recommending is available on the NHS and how much it will cost before you go ahead.
A bridge is a fixed replacement for a missing tooth or teeth. It's made by taking an impression of the surrounding teeth, which will eventually support the bridge. A bridge is usually created from precious metal and porcelain and will be fixed in your mouth (unlike dentures, which can be removed).
A crown is a type of cap that completely covers a real tooth. It's made from either metal, or porcelain and metal, and is fixed in your mouth. Crowns can be fitted where a tooth has broken, decayed or been damaged, or just to make a tooth look better.
To fit a crown, the old tooth will need to be drilled down so it's like a small peg onto which the crown will be fixed. It can take some time for the lab to prepare a new crown, so you probably won’t have the crown fitted on the same day.
Fillings are used to repair a hole in a tooth caused by decay. The most common type of filling is an amalgam, made from a mixture of metals including mercury, silver, tin, copper and zinc. Your dentist will offer the most appropriate type of filling according to your clinical needs. This includes white fillings, if appropriate.
Six per cent of people in a large survey in England said they had to treat their own dental problems themselves, because they could not get professional treatment - this included pulling out their own teeth.
The Dentistry Watch survey, which is the largest of its kind ever to be carried out in England, surveyed 5,212 patients and 750 dentists. It was carried out by the Patient and Public Involvement Forums survey and was aimed at collating patients' and dentists' views on dental services in England today and assessing the true state of the National Health Service dental system.
-- 78% of dental patients are no longer in the NHS, because they could either not find an NHS dentist or their existing dentist(s) stopped treating NHS patients.
-- 6% of respondents say they have had to treat themselves because they could not get professional treatment - this included pulling out their own teeth themselves.
-- More than 50% of all patients do not understand dental charges.
-- Almost half of all NHS dental patients do not understand dental charges.
-- Nearly one-fifth of all NHS dental patients have gone without treatment because they could not afford it.
-- 93% of those who did receive NHS dental treatment were happy with it.
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