The state of British teeth is a bit of a standing joke with our American cousins, but it’s an unfair accusation that Brits don’t look after their mouths. Basic dental treatment is covered on the NHS, but more complex or cosmetic treatment is charged for. Costs can soon mount up if you don’t know what to expect.
A crown is used when a tooth has decayed to the extent that it can no longer be filled effectively. The dentist makes a false tooth which sits on top of your existing tooth on a permanent basis. It is not removed every evening, and is indistinguishable from your own teeth. Many people opt for crowns for cosmetic and practical reasons, but they are not a budget choice. A basic crown can start at around £650 for one tooth.
Implants are the big new thing in the world of dentistry, and new technology never comes cheap. An implant involves the dentist fixing small metal posts into your jaw bone and then attaching new teeth on top. The advantages are that the procedure is suitable for almost everyone, and the results are permanent and natural in appearance. The cost though is what puts most people off implants, as even a basic set can cost upwards of £3000. As the technology becomes more commonplace, the cost may start to come down.
If you’ve ever wondered how the Hollywood stars get such a dazzlingly white smile, the chances are they’ve had a set of veneers fitted. The process involves a thin layer of porcelain being “glued” to the surface of the tooth or teeth. This makes them look smooth, uniform, shiny and very white. The result lasts between 5 and 10 years depending on the material being used, and the cost can be around £5000 and involves several trips to the dentist over the course of many weeks.
If your teeth are squint or twisted, have a brace fitted is the simplest way to straighten them out. Often the braces will be covered by the NHS, but if the dentist deems that your teeth are not sufficiently squint to be covered, you face having to pay around £2,500. Adult teeth cost more to straighten out than children’s teeth and the process will involve initial consultation along with fittings and regular appointments to check that the braces are working in the correct way.
More and more of us are taking out private health insurance policies which cover us either overseas, or for private medical treatment at home. The premium for these sorts of policies can vary hugely depending on the lifestyle choices we make. UK health insurance companies look at a wide range of factors, so what are the best things that we can do to lower our premiums and adopt a more healthy lifestyle?
- Stop smoking. Smoking is one of the biggest health risk factors out there, and in recognition that smokers will be more likely to need medical attention or fall seriously ill, it costs far more to insure the health of a regular smoker. It’s never too late to stop smoking, and there are lots of schemes available through your GP to give you all the help you need.
- Cut down on drinking. The old saying of “a little of what you fancy does you good” is often applied to alcohol, and there is evidence that drinking in moderation have positive benefits. Drinking to excess leads to all sorts of medical and health issues though, and as a nation the UK drinks too much. Cut down the number of units consumed through the week, and do not be tempted to binge at weekends.
- Exercise. Many of us don’t take enough exercise, and getting fitter will also keep us healthier too. Exercise doesn’t have to mean aerobics classes or pumping iron at the gym, little things like walking to work instead of taking the bus or using the stairs instead of always taking the lift can be enough.
- Eat better. We all know what constitutes a healthy diet, but many of us are still eating too many fatty foods and not having enough fruit and vegetables. The 5 a day rule for fruit and vegetables is an important guide, and we could all benefit from eating more fish and cutting down on red meat, dairy products and processed foods such as biscuits or ready meals.
- Reduce stress levels. Stress has been known to greatly affect how healthy we are, and people who have stressful jobs or do not handle pressure well are more likely to get ill. Identifying what is causing stress is the starting point, and help from other members of the family as well as colleagues and friends will be needed to reduce stress factors.
- Drink water. Few of us are keeping our bodies as hydrated as they need to be for optimum health, and experts recommend we should all be drinking around 3 litres of water per day. Staying hydrated will boost general health and keep you feeling in tip top condition.