Dental Care | Great Britain vs. America
British Teeth! I get asked about this more than you would expect. So if you want to know what I've learned about it in the past five years... here you go. (It's a bit long. A mouthful, one could say?)
I have to say, if you have insurance in the states... pretty teeth are pretty hard to escape. In fact, Americans look at teeth pretty critically. Teeth- their hygiene, color and straightness- are some of the first things that people seem to notice in the US.
Then there's England. To be honest, the jokes about bad teeth are slightly unfair. Terrible teeth really aren't as common as I might have expected... but with that said, teeth here aren't as routinely cosmetically pristine as they are in the States.
Brits have commented that they knew I had to be American before speaking to me from seeing my teeth across the room. I've heard them referred to as "picked fences." I've had a friend tell me she feels insecure about her teeth around Americans because hers aren't as straight. (Hers are totally fine, by the way.) One of my friends once said that she saw the cosmetic perfection of American smiles similar to having a boob job. "They look unnatural and a bit over the top." Ha! Needless to say, yes, there's definitely a difference in our shiny, straight pearly whites and the more natural dental arrangement going on here.
This, I believe, comes from the main factor that the dental care comes through the NHS. Services are non-frill, literally- a quick check that takes about 10 minutes. As in, they only check the health of your teeth. No dental hygienist to clean you up and give you those glorious spaces between your bottom teeth. The focus is more to prevent sick teeth... rather than producing perfect smiles.
Of course, you can opt to pay to have private dental healthcare. If that is the case, you can expect a bit more "American" experience. To pay for a cleaning, it is around £85 out of pocket.
Anyway, all that to say- I had my first real cleaning today since moving here. FIVE YEARS. I was so embarrassed to admit it to the hygienist, but oh well... they're clean now and I have no cavities. They're still straight from my years of wearing my retained to bed through college (popular!), but as for the whiteness? I'm afraid they're fading after a few years of tea. Luckily, I'm in good company here.
Kind of a random topic, right? (Okay, really random.) But, I thought it was worth addressing... and opening up for discussion. Both sides of the pond- weigh in!