The Fixer: Drilling down dental costs

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The Fixer logoHave you been left out of pocket due to poor service or sharp practice? Do you have a money problem that won't go away?

It can seem impossible to get a fair result when you are battling a financial issue alone. But never fear! The AOL Money Fixer is here to help.


Dear Fixer,
I recently had to visit the dentist after a few years without treatment because I was suffering from severe toothache. The resulting bill was more than £1,000.

I know the size of the bill is partly my fault - I should have gone to the dentist more regularly over the last few years.

However, the cost of going is just as off-putting as getting in the dentist's chair these days.

Can you suggest any ways to keep dental costs down? Thanks for your help.

I Cooper, Mansfield

Dear Mr Cooper,

Going to the dentist is one of the few NHS services that you have to pay for - unless you are exempt, for example because you are pregnant.

Even a check up costs close to £20, while crowns, dentures or bridges are more than £200 each. However, the size of your bill suggests that you went private, perhaps because you needed the treatment quickly.

Whether you want to see and NHS dentist or a private dentist in the future, one way to avoid a nasty shock when it comes to payment is to take out a dental insurance plan.

These contribute towards, or pay for, the cost of check-ups and standard or emergency treatment, usually up to a certain amount per year.

Costs vary from less than £5 to more than £20 a month, dependent on the type of treatment you want (NHS or private), your age and potentially the state of your dental health. Try contacting providers such as Denplan and WPA to find out more.

Otherwise, the best insurance plan against costly treatment is to visit the dentist regularly and look after your teeth.

The Fixer

Whatever your financial problem, write to themoneyfixer@aim.com and The AOL Money Fixer will get on the case.

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