The Cost of Toothache

Written by Karen Bryan

Now the pain of toothache is bad enough to bear, but when you can’t get an emergency appointment locally, there’s a financial cost too.

I was having terrible dental pain but had an appointment with my local National Health Service (NHS) dentist in Berwick upon Tweed. However the day before my appointment the surgery phoned me to cancel as my dentist was off work for family reasons. I explained to the receptionist that I was in pain but she said all she could do was offer me another appointment in 3 days, when my dentist was due to be back at work.
The pain was getting worse and I didn’t think I could stand it for another three days, so I thought I’d better try to get an emergency appointment with another dentist as soon as possible.

The other NHS dentist in Berwick upon Tweed couldn’t offer me an emergency appointment. However, I managed to get an appointment with an NHS dentist in Belford, a thirty mile return drive from home. I had to pay £17 to be seen by that dentist, who diagnosed an infection and prescribed a three day course of antibiotics. As I was in the middle of a course of treatment at my own dentist, I wouldn’t have had to pay for the consultation there. I can walk to my local dentist so there are no transport costs.

However, thank goodness I did manage to get that emergency appointment in Belford, as the rescheduled appointment with my own dentist in 3 days time was also cancelled.

Therefore, the local dentist cancelling my appointment cost me just over £30, £17 for the consultation and £13.50 for transport  (30 miles at 45 pence per mile). I’m not complaining about spending that money, as I was desperate to see a dentist, it’s just an illustration of unexpected spending.

The moral of the story is take into account circumstances such as this when making a budget.