Seeing the dentist

NHS dentistry

In the UK, a lot of dental work is provided under the NHS, which makes dentistry more affordable by covering some of the cost of the treatment.

The government aims to make NHS dentistry accessible to all those who want it. Many dental practices are accepting new NHS patients so the simplest way to find one is often to do some research in your local area and call any that you like the look of.

If you are still struggling to find a local NHS dentist after this, you can call 0300 311 2233 or search for a dentist through the NHS website.

Patients no longer need to register with a dentist to be seen, but you will still need to provide the dentist with certain key information to ensure their records are accurate.

All dental practices in the UK are monitored by the Care Quality Commission to ensure they are up to standard.

What’s available?

Not all treatments are available on the NHS but generally your dentist will be able to provide a treatment that keeps your mouth healthy and free of disease and pain.

Some cosmetic treatments – such as tooth whitening – are not available on the NHS. Other treatments, such as dental implants, may be available in very rare cases but are typically unavailable.

How much will it cost?

With most NHS dental care, the patient pays a small fee to cover some of the cost of the treatment.

Some people, such as under-18s, pregnant women, or those on jobseeker’s allowance are entitled to entirely free dental treatment. A full list of those who are exempt from patient charges is available here.

The amount you have to pay depends on the work you are having done. Patient charges for NHS are split into three bands:

Band 1: £20.60

This covers your initial examination (which may include X-rays), cleaning of your teeth (a scale and polish) if necessary, and advice on keeping your mouth healthy.

Band 2: £56.30

This covers a broad range of treatment that includes (but is not limited to) fillings, root canal treatments, extractions, relining or rebasing dentures, and other more advanced care.

It also covers everything listed in Band 1.

Band 3: £244.30

This band of treatment covers work that requires a dental laboratory to prepare a restoration to complete it. This includes things like the preparation of a denture, a single crown or bridgework. Some of this fee covers the cost your dentist will have to pay to the laboratory for the work done.

It also covers everything listed in Bands 1 and 2.