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Thursday, October 20, 2005 


Lovely news, dear readers. As the deadline for tuition payment approaches, this year it is a date I am not concerned with. Because this year, a pharmaceutical company has agreed to fund me. Meaning not only will they pay my outrageously expensive overseas fees, but have also decided to give me a stipend. Money. Finally, money. Sure, I love what I do; sure, money's not important. But when you actually get some, it's damn nice.

And the first order of business for me when that check comes in (hopefully before the end of the month) is the dentist. It's been over a year now since my last visit and I can see, I swear see with my own eyes, three separate cavities. Nightmare. Not quite sure how to go about getting one (my GP is at the uni and they don't do dentistry and when I ask other friends they shrug halfheartedly, thus confirming every American's worst fear about British teeth) but I was hoping the blogging universe could help with that.


Money is good, luv. Teeth have their role to play as well -- but with money, you can get teeth. With teeth, you can't necessarily get money.

Go, grrl!


If you have a national insurance number, there is a good NHS dentist on Newington Butts (top of Borough High Street diagonally across from The Ruse). There's also a nice (private) one on Waterloo Road (St Georges Circus end, the end where the obelisk is). There's another private one on Borough High Street and an NHS one by the railway bridge at the Elephant.

NHS dentistry is actually free, but IMPOSSIBLE to get registered. If you're used to paying for a dentist, go private. Having had cavities filled in the US and the UK privately I can tell you that it will cost less. For a consultation, polish and one cavity, it will come to around £110.

Bad British teeth us a total sterotype, but based on the three truths 1) water doesn't contain fluoride 2) it wasn't until the 80's that orthodontistry was considered essential for children and therefore became available on the NHS and 3) nobody can get registered with an NHS dentist, when a new practice opens there are regularly massives queues and three times as many people applying as can be registered.

It's easy to get registered in the two NHS practices I suggested. There are problems in some areas, but it is very much a localised issue caused by a shortage of dental practitioners in those areas. London isn't one of them. The shortage is slowly being made good by the arrival of an army of Eastern European practitioners. Moreover, NHS dentistry is not free, unless you are under 18, over 18 and if full time education, over 65, pregnant, on benefits of some description, etc, etc, etc. It is just a lot cheaper than private treatment. It does not, however, cover purely cosmetic work. Worth noting that if you are after purely cosmetic work, it can work out cheaper to head off the Prague, Budapest and elsewhere and have a dental weekend break. The treatment is so much cheaper that even with flights and hotels it still comes out costing less than using a UK based private dentist. Finally, dentistry has been considered essential for children since the NHS was created in 1946, not the 1980's. If anything its importance declined in the 1980's and that is why there are now shortages.

I think Katie was meaning an orthodontist, versus a dentist, being added to NHS essential treatment in the 1980s.

Hi Monica,

If you haven't followed any of the other suggestions yet, why not try the KCL Dental School at Guy's Hospital? I'm also a PhD student at KCL (actually almost finished - final viva next week - aargh!!) and I have used their dental service many times. You might have to wait a bit but it is free, and although you get treated by students they are well supervised - I certainly felt I was getting good treatment. And, hey, they have to learn somehow! If you want to use this service just go to Floor 23 in Guy's Hospital Tower any weekday morning (try to get there early, long queues often build up).

Good luck with the PhD - I know how you feel!!

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