The media in the U.K. recently has been full of stories about the inadequacy of dental care under the National Health System there.
Here’s a report about waiting lists from The Scotsman:
“WHEN Caroline Dollemore-Hunt urgently needed a dentist to treat a painful problem with her teeth, she thought the NHS would provide one. But after being told she is 6,836th on the waiting list merely to be registered with an NHS dentist, she has become resigned to her teeth crumbling and falling out before she can get help…”
We know there are many fine dentists in the U.K., but we frequently see patients from Britain here in Costa Rica at Prisma Dental who cannot wait for care or who need a level of work — with dental implants, dental crowns and/or oral surgery that the N.H.S. will perhaps not cover.
It is much the same with our patients from the United States, where, according to this story in The New York Times:
“…A federal survey shows that 27 percent of adults without insurance saw a dentist in 2004, down from 29 percent in 1996, when dental fees were significantly lower, even after adjusting for inflation. For adults with private insurance, the rate was virtually unchanged, at 57 percent, up from 56 percent. Since 1990, the number of dentists in the United States has been roughly flat, about 150,000 to 160,000, while the population has risen about 22 percent. In addition, more dentists are working part time…”
It is not our place to be critical of the systems of either the U.K. or the United States. Though we are proud of the public health system in Costa Rica, it is also far from perfect. However, we are able to work with patients and dentists from abroad to deliver care that might not be affordable to a patient in his or her own country, and that is part of how Prisma Dental is a small part of a global health care system.