This is helping the government to make NHS dentistry better.
The information below tells you what this means for you.
Your dentist is taking part in a trial. The trial will test different ways for the government to pay your dentist for looking after the health of your mouth. It will also test a new way of planning how to keep your mouth healthy. There are about 60 dental practices in England taking part in this trial.
What difference will I notice when I come for my appointment?
There will not be many differences. This is because the trial is about changing the way dentists are paid. It is not about giving you different treatment.
You might notice that your check up is a bit longer and you might be asked more questions than usual. This is called an oral health assessment. This helps your dentist to work out a care plan especially for you. Your dentist will use it when you come back for check ups in the future to check that the advice, information and treatment given are helping.
Your dentist might also spend more time talking with you about how to keep your mouth healthy and how to stop any problems happening.
What happens in an oral health assessment?
You will be asked some questions about yourself and your health. Your answers will be recorded on the computer system in the practice. These are the kinds of questions you will be asked:
Your contact details – this is so your dentist can get in touch with you if he or she needs to.
Your medical history – the health of your mouth is part of your general health. This means it is important to tell your dentist about any medical conditions you have. Also, your dentist needs to know if you are taking any medication and what the medication is. It may affect the treatment you can be given.
You also need to tell your dentist about any allergies that you have – such as an allergy to penicillin or latex gloves. This will make sure the dentist doesn’t give you anything or use anything that is harmful to you.
Your dental history – to plan your care your dentist needs to know how healthy your mouth has been in the past and what treatment you have already had. Your dentist will talk to you about this and also examine your mouth and gums. This will also help them to know how likely you are to have dental problems in the future. Some of these problems can easily be stopped. Your dentist will tell you what you can do to stop them, such as:
• • •
Eating less sugar Brushing and flossing your teeth better Using toothpaste with fluoride in it
Why do they need all of this information?
The information you give will help your dentist to know the best way to care for your mouth and treat any problems you have.
What happens after the oral health assessment?
The dentist will talk with you about the information you have given and about what they have seen looking inside your mouth. This will help you and your dentist to make a “care plan”. This plan will say how you and your dentist can work together to make your mouth healthy and keep it healthy.
When should I come back and see the dentist for another check up?
This will depend on how healthy your mouth is. If everything is ok, you might not need another check up for a while. If there are any problems, you might need to come back sooner especially for extra help with keeping your mouth healthy. At each check up, your dentist will look at your care plan to make sure it has all the things on it to keep your mouth healthy.
Are the NHS charges being changed?
No. The normal NHS charges are still the same. To check what the costs are and to find out if you don’t have to pay charges, ask your dentist for a copy of the 2011/12 patient charges leaflet produced by the Department of Health called NHS dental services in England, or see the dental costs page of the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk
Will my appointment take longer than usual?
You might need a longer appointment than usual. This is because the oral health assessment checks more things and may take longer than a normal check up. The receptionist can tell you how long your appointment might be.
How will I know what my care plan involves?
After your check up, your dentist will give you a care plan that tells you about how healthy your mouth is. It will also tell you what you can do to keep your mouth healthy and what the dentist will do. If you need any treatment, you will also get a “treatment plan”. The plan will say what treatment you need to have and what you will need to pay. It will also tell you when you should come back for another appointment.
Your dentist will ask you to sign your treatment plan and keep it in a safe place.
You will be able to have all the treatment provided under the NHS that your dentist feels you need to keep your mouth healthy.