42 & 46 Banstead Road, Sutton, Carshalton Beeches, Surrey SM5 3NW

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Why are NHS dentures so bad?

Dentures that are made by NHS dentists

This article if intended to highlight the differences between private dentures made by us and the typical standard dentures that are made on the NHS. The NHS can be a great system for those who cannot afford private options but it does have its limitations. This needs to be discussed as often patients are not aware of such limitations and options should be discussed thoroughly for proper valid consent.

Often patients who have had experience with dentures within the national health service will be disappointed with the result. Patients come to see us for a free assessment and they often ask why this is the case so here are all the reasons:

  1. Making a denture takes a lot time and money. The NHS doesn’t pay dentists appropriately and this is where problems happen!

Unfortunately, the NHS pays dentists very little to make dentures – this is often just over £100. Out of this money the dentist will need to pay the laboratory technician
to make the dentures which normally equates to £50-£80. This leaves the dentist feeling undervalued and he/she will want to make the dentures as quick as possible in order to minimize the effect on their hourly rate. This typically involves cutting corners. I have seen NHS dentures so many time when they simply do not fit. If the impression is 70% – a lot of the time, the dentist wont bother to retake it as it will do. This leads to poor outcomes.

Clinical Time spend on average by NHS dentist – 1hour 15mins
Clinical Time spend on average by The Denture & Implant Clinic – 7 hours

*Figures above do not relate on technicians time – only dentists time.

As stated previously, the dentist will need to pay the technician to make the dentures therefore, he/she will generally try to find a cheap technician in order to ensure their hourly rate does not drop more than it needs to.

The technician will then have this same feeling of being undervalued and will economize on the denture as much as possible. Ie – use cheap teeth, materials and try and make them as fast as possible. This invariable leads to cutting corners and a poor quality denture.

What’s more is that the technician and dentist are now trapped in a system that rewards poor quality and cutting corners. This leads to deskilling of them both, which further exacerbates the problem, and it causes a vicious circle.

  1. Cutting Corners to make the process economically viable

  • Poor quality of teeth
  • Poor quality of denture materials
  • Make a denture is supposed to made by one technician and it’s supposed to be made one at a time. Often, to make ends meet the NHS technician will have a whole stack of dentures to make on their tables which causes them to ‘streamline’ the procedure. This is where quality control goes out the window.
  • Secondary Impressions are not done so generic non-bespoke trays are used
  • Bites are not taken accurately
  • Bites are not balanced
  • Poor quality of impressions
  • Poor quality of impression materials
  • The cosmetics of the teeth are often not looked at
  • The size and shape is left entirely to the technician. As they have never seen you before it’s impossible for them to pick the right size/shape/mould for you which means everyones dentures ends up looking the same.
  • Poor quality of technicians doing the work

The list is endless and I have only mentioned the factors that the lay person can understand.

The Alternative to NHS Dentures

Thankfully, there are private clinics around like ourselves that concentrate on quality, regardless of the time and cost that it involves. This leads to much better outcomes and leaves the patient and dentist feeling happy. It means we can use a highly skilled technician who uses the highest quality of materials on the market. This means results are predictable meaning happy patients.

If you would like to enquire about what we can do you for, please call us and we would be happy to assess your situation.


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12 thoughts on “Why are NHS dentures so bad?”

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