Dentistry is one of very few NHS services you have to pay for. This section explains what you will have to pay for and when you may not have to pay.
The National Health Service – or the NHS – is a publicly-funded health care system in the UK. This means that UK residents are entitled to dental treatments that are either free of charge, or have very minimal costs, under the NHS. Aside from dental care, the NHS also offers long-term health care, ophthalmology and in-patient care to UK residents.
The focus of NHS dentistry is clinical; this means that NHS dentistry includes all of the dental treatments necessary to achieve and maintain good oral/dental health care and if necessary, to restore the function of dental health in the most cost-effective way possible. The clinical focus of NHS dentistry means dental treatments that are aesthetic in nature (those that are primarily concerned with improving one’s appearance, such as cosmetic dentistry procedures) are not included in the list of treatments that can be done on the NHS, where prices are set for defined dental treatments
Urgent Care – If you require urgent care, even if your treatment requires more than one appointment at the same dentist to complete, you will only need to pay one charge £18.00. Once your urgent course of treatment has been completed, you may be advised to make another appointment for a separate course of non-urgent treatment. In this case you will have to pay a second charge in the relevant treatment band.
Dental charges depend on the treatment you need to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy. You will only ever be asked to pay one charge for each complete course of treatment, even if you need to visit your dentist more than once to finish it. If you are referred to another dentist for another, separate course of treatment, you can expect a second charge. Some minor treatments are free.
NHS dental charges from 1 April 2019
Band 1 course of treatment – £22.70
This covers an examination, diagnosis (eg X-rays), advice on how to prevent future problems, a scale and polish if needed, and application of fluoride varnish or fissure sealant. If you require urgent care, even if your urgent treatment needs more than one appointment to complete, you will only need to pay one Band 1 charge.
Band 2 course of treatment – £62.10
This covers everything listed in Band 1 above, plus any further treatment such as fillings, root canal work or if your dentist needs to take out one or more of your teeth.
Band 3 course of treatment – £269.50
This covers everything listed in Bands 1 and 2 above, plus crowns, dentures and bridges.
You do not have to pay for your NHS treatment if on the first day of treatment you are:
- Under 18 years old
- 18 years of age and in full time education
- Pregnant or had a baby in the last 12 months.
You are entitled to free NHS treatment because you or your partner receives:
- Income support
- Income-based jobseekers allowance
- Pension credit guarantee credit
You are also entitled to free NHS treatment if you are named on one of the following certificates that are valid during the treatment:
- HC2 Certificate
- NHS Tax credit exemption certificate (card)
If you are named on a valid HC3 certificate, you may not have to pay the full NHS fees. Your certificate will need to be produced stating the limit you have to pay and the certificate number.
Proof of exemption will be needed when you come to your dental appointment.
These are the only benefits that entitle you to free NHS dental services. Other benefits such as Incapacity Benefit, Disability Living Allowance, Council Tax Benefit, Housing Benefit, Contribution Based Job Seekers Allowance, Pension Credit Savings Credit and any other benefits do not count. (You are not automatically entitled to receive free NHS treatment because you receive Tax Credits, there are qualifying conditions. If you qualify you will be sent an exemption certificate (Card).