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NHS dentist will 'refer' me? What does that mean?

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by dumpty, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    Well, financially that is.

    Went to a NHS dentist for treatment to a cracked tooth and the dentist said another one was in trouble but for that one 'I will need to refer you'.

    Does that mean I will be sent to another NHS specialist dentist (he thinks the gum needs to be cut to remove the tooth) or is this code talk for 'you are going to need to pay privately for this'.?
  2. 7eleven

    7eleven Senior commenter

    I would assume he meant refer to the hospital.
  3. zizzyballoon

    zizzyballoon Star commenter

    He is probably referring you because you will need a general anaesthetic in the dental dept of a hospital. They do this for wisdom tooth extractions.too. It will be covered by the NHS.
  4. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    Thanks - makes sense.
  5. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    When I was 'referred' they gave me the choice of 1) the NHS dental hospital - you wait for a letter giving you an appointment which may be later rather than sooner depending on where you are. They will however tell you (if you call them) that they will try to fit you in if/when they get a cancellation or 2) a private practice where anaesthetic is possible. You pay but you get to pick you day & time. I chose to go private, for what I needed it wasn't extortionate and was worth it for the convenience.
    dumpty likes this.
  6. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    Thanks everyone.

    Called Dentist and yes, he said the other tooth there needed either a root canal and crown (244 quid on the NHS) OR it could be extracted but for that I would need to be referred to London Hospital (NHS).

    Will think about it but I'm not a fan of root canals as they just buy a little time until it needs extraction anyhow.

    I think?
  7. EmanuelShadrack

    EmanuelShadrack Star commenter

    Not sure about the general anaesthetic. As I understand it, that's only used in exceptional circumstances. The medical profession tries to avoid general anaesthetics, if at all possible.

    I had my wisdom teeth out under local anaesthetic, at the hospital.
    ATfan likes this.
  8. EmanuelShadrack

    EmanuelShadrack Star commenter

    Root canals can be very complex, and the NHS option might not include the latest techniques and instruments.

    If you can possibly afford it, I would go privately for that, to a root canal specialist (i.e. someone who does only root canals). If root canal surgery goes wrong, it can be very very nasty indeed.
  9. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I think maybe dentists are a bit over-cautious with this. Mine referred me (root canal extraction) because she felt an anaesthetic might be necessary. When I went for the appointment the dentist laughed at the idea, did it with a little numbing injection and made it clear he'd be laughing at my dentist next time they spoke....he seemed to think she should have been able to do it very easily. (I took someone with me fearing a general, he laughed at that as well.)
  10. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    I second that, EmanuelShadrack. I've only had two root canals in my life - one about 25 years ago, which was completed in one visit and has never caused a problem since. Procedure seems to have changed a lot; when I was told I needed another root canal about 18 months ago, I wasn't unduly worried. It now seems to take 3 visits. The first was OK, but I developed a swelling on my gum above the tooth a couple of days later. I had no idea what it was at first, but it got more and more painful and I became pretty sick. The dentist told me it was an abscess, which is apparently a not uncommon complication of root canal. I ended up with four different lots of antibiotics (which made me feel even worse) and a week off work. Finally, when nothing was working, I had to have the abscess drained and gum stitched, and the tooth removed - I chose to pay for sedation for this! It would make me think very carefully about root canal treatment in future.
    EmanuelShadrack likes this.
  11. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    Thanks again for the posts, all very helpful.

    Certainly do agree that a root canal needs to be done properly otherwise it is just not worth it. The tooth is top rear so I am still leaning towards extraction and be done with it!
    Startedin82 likes this.
  12. zizzyballoon

    zizzyballoon Star commenter

    I have had root canal work done very satisfactorily by an NHS dentist and suffered no ill effects.
    Startedin82 likes this.
  13. Startedin82

    Startedin82 Established commenter

    I think the general rule is it's always better to retain natural teeth if at all possible.
  14. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    Hi! You've probably had this done by now but wanted to post as I've recently been through this!

    Yes, by 'refer', he meant to refer to you to a specialist NHS dental clinic or hospital as the job is too big for him! LOL! Don't worry about the cost! The price banding is the same everywhere! Hope this helps and that your tooth has been/will be sorted soon!
  15. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    Ah thanks - I have not been back yet as for some obscure reason the pain subsided and I do have to go a bit back and forth overseas at the moment.

    This is very good to know as when I have time I can now ask for it all to be done as part of the same cost.
  16. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    I was "referred" this week for an extraction after a crown broke off and the root became infected ( or something similar-I switched off at extraction!) I just went to a different dentist, four injections and a tug-no problems. However, it did need a stitch afterwards. The cost was the same as at my own NHS dentist, although the procedure was carried out in a BUPA clinic. The only difference seemed to be the speed I received the appointment-within a couple of weeks.
  17. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    That’s good but I hope the dentist is still keeping an eye on you. I had to have 3 back teeth removed last year as they had gone but oddly (thankfully) I’d had no pain or infection, just a bit of what one of the dental surgeons that I saw called sensitivity in one of them and he gave me some great stuff to put in the tooth for that which helped me in the short term.
  18. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    My case was quite amusing. To cut a long story short, I found out in Feb 2016 that I needed to have 3 back teeth removed because of which ones they were, my dentist told me that I would be better off having them removed in one go under sedation which he couldn’t do, so he referred me to a local dental clinic which could. To cut the story short again, I duly arrived for the procedure to be told that the dental surgeon would not be removing the teeth after all because one of the teeth was close to my sinus and because I have curved roots (no problem or disease with them, it’s just how they are) so needed to have a general anaesthetic in hospital. I went private for this because of the waiting list and urgency of having these teeth removed before I did develop a nasty infection. The ironic thing is that the specialist was good but his PA was not, so I ended up waiting for so long that I may well have been quicker if I’d gone on the NHS anyway. Anyway, all gone now and all’s well that ends well.

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