What is the difference between a hygienist and a dentist??!


What is the difference between a hygienist and a dentist??

Ok I went to a new dentist today because I became dissatisfied with my old one. I have braces and basically I needed a scale and polish because I have noticed a bit of plaque/tartar build up around some of the brackets (I had them fitted 4 months ago).

Anyway the dentist looked at my teeth, said they all look ok, took some x-rays (because I was a new patient), and then said that for my scale and polish I would need to see the hygienist and it would cost me £40 because a hygienist is not covered under the NHS. Not only that, but this would be on top of the £15.90 NHS charge for the check-up I had by him. I was absolutely livid. In all my experience with dentists I have always had my check-up, and scale and polish done by the dentist which nowadays costs me £15.90 under the NHS charges (I am an adult by the way).

I can't believe dentists can get away with using hygienists to do the work they should be doing!! Fair enough using hygienists for private patients but I am NHS!!


From April 1st 2006 all dentists in the UK work under a new contract, this new contract requires them to earn UDA's (units of dental activity).
Under this new contract there are now only 3 price bands
£15.90 for a standard check up, xrays and scale/polish, this falls under band 1.
£43.60 this is for all fillings and also includes the above fee and falls under band 2.
£194 this is for any crowns/dentures and also includes both of the above fee's and falls under band 3.
Each price band has it's own uda value, a band one will earn the dentist 1 uda point and a scale and polish is now only done by the dentist at his/her discretion.
Both the dentists in my practise are required to reach a certain amount uda's a day and need to see more band 3 patients in order to do this and if they genuinely feel that your teeth are fine and dont need a scale/Polish they are no longer obliged to carry this out for you.
Sadly it's not a case of the dentist getting away with using hygienists, it's the dentist using his/her own discretion due to the new contact, if they have to reach a certain amount of uda's they are encouraged to refer patients to the hygienist so they can concentrate on higher treatment bands.
Under this new contract many nhs dental practices have become private as they are unable to reach the required amount of uda's that their local Primary Care trust has set them and many more are likely to follow suit

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