It's almost that time of year again when I take the kids for our twice yearly routine dental appointments. Whilst they are safe in the knowledge that their teeth will be cared for and treated free of charge, courtesy of the NHS, my visits are always somewhat more stressful as I begin fretting about the cost of any treatment I might require.
Just a 30 second check-up alone costs me almost £20 in my surgery, whilst a white filling usually sets me back another £80 or so.
(Aside: Of course, choosing a white filling is a little bit of a treat for me, and I know I could opt for a slightly cheaper mercury amalgam filling, but a few years ago I started to read about potential health problems linked to such fillings and I vowed then that whenever a filling needed replaced the white ones were the way to go. So, although I grumble about the cost, I am actually getting something I want for my money!)
My next appointment is still a week away, but this time around I've been noticing a few aches and pains in one particular tooth and have a feeling this trip is going to be an expensive one. In fact, having done a little research recently, it's made me start to think about the option of dental care insurance.
Even though I'm an NHS patient, for as little as a tenner a month I've discovered I could protect myself against the cost of future treatments. So in my case, for around the same cost of two routine visits and a replacement filling, I could be covered against all sorts of other treatments that I may discover are necessary.
And if I decided to "go private" rather than relying on the NHS, I could choose to pay extra for a higher level of care. There are even family options available - and I say that as a mum who a few years back couldn't get an emergency appointment for my daughter who had toothache at my local surgery. I ended up having to phone around lots of surgeries and changing dentist just so she could get her tooth seen to! If I'd had a private plan, that wouldn't have happened.
Anyway, off we'll all go next week to get our teeth checked. The children will leave with brightly polished free smiles and a sticker declaring they're super kids. I on the other hand will leave most likely with a hole in my purse where half an hour beforehand a £20 note languished!