Good dental health helps us communicate more effectively, eat and enjoy a variety of foods and generally contributes to better health and wellbeing. Poor dental health results in pain, discomfort, sleepless nights, limited diet and therefore poor nutrition, time off work and school and poorer physical and mental health.
You should always feel comfortable being able to chat to your dentist about treatment, problems or if you are unhappy about any aspect of your dental experience.
How to choose your dentist
• Family & friend’s recommendation
• Accessibility & your needs; car parking, bus stops, wheel chair etc.
• Opening times
• Visit the dentists and see how you feel and how the receptionist greets you – do you feel comfortable?
Dental fees can vary. There are no official guidelines for what a dentist can charge. You should check how much your treatment will cost before and during your appointment and agree the fee with your dentist.
The cost of dental treatment depends on several factors such as how complicated your treatment is and whether any laboratory work is involved. It’s a good idea to ask your dentist about costs and what the arrangements are for payment before your treatment begins.
Dentists should give you a written estimate for any extensive course of treatment and should also give you a written estimate for other work if you ask for one.
Making the most of your visit to the dentist
Questions to Ask your dentist
Don’t be afraid to ask simple questions before and during your appointment if treatment is to be carried out immediately or do some extra research if there is time before your procedure. Talk to other patients who have received the same treatment or visit another dentist for a second opinion until you feel confident enough to go ahead with treatment.
• How much will it cost?
• Will x-rays be included?
• When do I need to pay?
• Who will be carrying out the check-up or treatment/procedure?
• Is this a treatment/procedure the dentist often carries out?
• Are there payment plan options?
During the appointment
• What are my dental problems?
• Can you explain my treatment options?
• You should receive a written quotation explaining treatment options – it is ok to ask for this.
• What are the pros and cons, or risks and benefits, of each option?
• What would happen if I don’t have the treatment?
• When do I have to pay?
• How long will it take?
• How long is the work likely to last for?
• If there are complications and I need more treatment, will there be extra charges?
• What can I do to prevent further problems?
• What can be done by me and you to prevent further problems?
• How can I contact you if needed after treatment? For example it is now Saturday afternoon and the tooth has flared up again?
Do you need to go to the hygienist?
It isn’t just a nice feeling to have clean teeth, it also benefits the teeth and gums to keep them clean. Hard deposits, calculus or tartar, build up on the teeth over time.
Tartar is the home for bacteria which produces acid which irritates the gums, makes teeth sensitive and also leads to tooth decay. If the tartar is left in place the gums will recede and try to get away from the tartar leading to recession, sensitivity, bone loss and gum disease.
Tartar can only be removed by professional cleaning. Gum disease has also been implicated in systemic diseases such as heart disease
A specialist dentist has to meet certain conditions and is only entitled to use the title specialist once they have achieved those conditions as defined by the General Dental Council (see about the GDC below)
If your dentist refers you to one of the Islands specialist dentists ALWAYS remember to check the fees and cost for the referred treatment.
What fields can dentists specialise in?
There are 13 specialist lists. Dentists on these lists have been granted entry because they have met certain minimum standards of training. The routes for entry are determined by European and GDC regulations.
Special Care Dentistry
The improvement of the oral health of individuals and groups in society who have a physical, sensory, intellectual, mental, medical, emotional or social impairment or disability or, more often, a combination of these factors. It pertains to adolescents and adults.
The treatment and ongoing management of irregularities and pathology of the jaw and mouth that require surgical intervention. This includes the specialty previously called Surgical Dentistry.
The development, prevention, and correction of irregularities of the teeth, bite and jaw.
Comprehensive therapeutic oral health care for children from birth through adolescence, including care for those who demonstrate intellectual, medical, physical, psychological and/or emotional problems.
The cause, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries of the tooth root, dental pulp, and surrounding tissue.
The diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases and disorders (infections and inflammatory) of the gums and other structures around the teeth.
The replacement of missing teeth and the associated soft and hard tissues by prostheses (crowns, bridges, dentures) which may be fixed or removable, or may be supported and retained by implants.
The restoration of diseased, injured, or abnormal teeth to normal function. Includes all aspects of Endodontics, Periodontics and Prosthodontics.
Dental Public Health
A non-clinical specialty involving the science and art of preventing oral diseases, promoting oral health to the population rather than the individual. It involves the assessment of dental health needs and ensuring dental services meet those needs.
Oral health care of patients with chronic recurrent and medically related disorders of the mouth and with their diagnosis and non-surgical management.
Diagnosis and assessment of facial infection, typically bacterial and fungal disease. This is a clinical specialty undertaken by laboratory-based personnel who provide reports and advice based on interpretation of microbiological samples.
Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
Diagnosis and assessment made from tissue changes characteristic of disease of the oral cavity, jaws and salivary glands. This is a clinical specialty undertaken by laboratory-based personnel.
Dental and Maxillofacial Radiology
Involves all aspects of medical imaging which provide information about anatomy, function and diseased states of the teeth and jaws.
Dental governance & regulation
Whether you’re visiting for a routine check-up, a quick clean or for more involved treatment, the dental professional treating you (and their services) must meet standards set by the General Dental Council. All local dentists have to register with the General Dental Council.
The General Dental Council is the Channel Island and the UK’s dental regulator. Their role is to protect dental patients. They were set up by Parliament but are independent of the Government. By law, dental professionals must be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) to work in the UK and the Channel Islands.
The GDC regulates all dental professionals:
• clinical dental technicians
• dental hygienists
• dental nurses
• dental technicians
• dental therapists
• orthodontic therapists.
Dental professionals on the GDC register must meet high standards. Dental professionals must:
• Put patients’ interests first
• Communicate effectively with patients;
• Get valid permission from patients to carry out treatment;
• Maintain and protect patients’ information;
• Have a clear and effective complaints procedure;
• Work with colleagues in a way that serves the interests of patients;
• Maintain, develop and work within their professional knowledge and skills;
• Raise concerns if patients are at risk;
• Make sure their personal behaviour maintains patients’ confidence in them and the dental profession.
What should I do if I am unhappy with my experience?
If you are unhappy with your experience for any reason, your dental practice will have their own query or complaints procedure and most issues can usually be dealt with in this way. Speak to them first to see if you can settle the problem.
If you are still unhappy, further help is available.
Categories of complaints
Complaints about dentists fall into two categories:
• Complaints about malpractice or inappropriate treatment
• Complaints about charges
Citizens Advice Jersey can also guide you through the complaints process.
Jersey Dental Association
If you are still unhappy you could contact the president of the Jersey Dental Association, who would look into the matter.
Dr Ciaran Milner LDS RCS
Central Dental Surgery
Telephone 01534 766383
How can the General Dental Council help?
The GDC protects dental patients. If you are concerned that the treatment you have received is below standard you can get in touch.
The GDC will take action when a dental professional’s ability, behaviour or health means it is not suitable for them to continue working as a dental professional.
Anyone can report a concern to the GDC, but they only deal with certain types of complaints.
If you have a problem with a dental professional and have spoken to your own practice and the Jersey Dental Association but are not sure who can help, please contact GDC’s Customer Advice & Information Team:
The GDC can direct you to organisations that can help you get compensation or a solution to your problem if needed.
Dental department at the General Hospital
The four areas of work are:
- community dental, providing dental care for children up to completion of primary school
- orthodontics, treatment for children and young adults in full time education. Your dentist refers you if you meet the treatment criteria
- oral surgery
- special care dentistry
Dental scheme for young people leaving primary school
The Jersey Dental Fitness Scheme helps towards the cost of routine dental treatment for young people on completion of primary school until the end of full-time education.
It should be noted that eligibility for the scheme will have income thresholds applied.
It should be noted that eligibility for the scheme will have income thresholds applied.