Guide To Dental Charges

How much you will have to pay for any dental treatment carried out in the UK will depend on whether you have an NHS or a private dentist and if your income allows you to access subsidies for dental procedures. Some dental work which is considered to be cosmetic, such as gum contouring, will not be available on the NHS as this only covers your oral health.

NHS Costs

whether you go to the dentist through the NHS or privately drastically affects the price

NHS pricing is split into three bands and you will only pay once for each full course of treatment even if it requires multiple visits to the dentist:

  • Band 1 includes a check up, diagnosis, a scale and polish with the hygienist, adjusting braces and applying sealant or fluoride varnish. Band 1 treatments cost £18 each.

  • Band 2 treatments are charged at £49 and include; extractions, fillings, a deep cleaning by the hygienist, cyst removal and root canal treatment.

  • Band 3 which costs £214 and includes; veneers, dentures, bridges, crowns, braces and other orthodontic treatment. Braces and veneers are only available from NHS dentists if there is a clinical need for them as opposed to a cosmetic option.

Free NHS Dental Treatment

Free dental treatment is available on the NHS for some. Those eligible include; people under 18, pregnant women, women who have had a baby in the previous 12 months, and people aged up to 19 who are in full time education. This is in addition to people in receipt of certain benefits such as; Income Support, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Based Jobseekers, and tax credits. Any dental treatment you receive in an NHS hospital is also free.

There is also the NHS low income scheme which offers help to people who are not exempt from NHS charges. This help is based on a comparison of your income and expenditure and patients can get a claim form from NHS dentists, job centres and NHS hospitals. This scheme is not available to anyone with more than £16,000 in savings.

Getting Referred

It may be the case that your dentist has to refer you for specialist NHS dental work.

If this happens, you are liable to pay a one-off fee for this referral. However, if you are referred again to another dentist, such as instances where you will need to be fully sedated to undergo extensive work, this is regarded as a second referral. You will then have to pay a second charge as part of this secondary referral.

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Emergency Care

Patients who require emergency dental treatment will need to contact their dentist or call 111. For any urgent treatment you will only be charged the Band 1 £18 fee, even if more than one appointment is required.

Examples of urgent treatment include; severe toothache, trauma to the teeth following an accident or bleeding after removal of a tooth that will not stop. You will be able to get emergency treatment even if you do not have a current NHS dentist.

Private dentists also offer emergency treatments. Call out fees are usually in the region of £30 - £50 with treatment costs on top of this.

How To Claim A Refund

After receiving dental treatment on the NHS, if you believe that you have been wrongly charged or overcharged, you may be able to obtain a refund.

Firstly, you should have a discussion with your dentist, who should be able to clarify whether the work you’ve had done is a mix of NHS and private dentistry, or purely NHS work. If a mistake has been made at the practice, they should be able to refund you directly straight away. However, if treatment is a mix of both, or classified as Band 2 or 3, you should examine your dental plan to determine the costs of the treatment. If you paid for NHS treatment that should have in fact been free, you can seek a refund. You will need to do so within three months of paying for the treatment, and any further grievances should be filed through an official procedure as outlined by the NHS.

Needing Additional Treatment

If you have undergone treatment and yet need more, you may not have to pay again.

For example, if you need more treatment at the same price or lower within two months of completing a course of treatment, you would not have to pay again. You would also not be expected to pay again if you are undergoing reparative treatment or a replacement within one year of the original procedure, and ideally you should return to the same dentist for this follow-on treatment.

Private Dental Costs

The cost of private dental treatment can vary immensely depending on which clinic you choose and the treatment you need. Private patients have many more options for treatment compared to those offered by the NHS. For example, the latest porcelain crowns which cost several hundred pounds are generally not available on the NHS.

Braces and other orthodontic fees are dependent on the type of brace you opt for. Standard fixed braces cost from around £2,000 whereas Incognito hidden braces can cost over £6,000.

  • An extraction - £50-£200
  • A hygienist visit - £35-£70
  • A check up - £30-£60
  • A filling - £50-£150
  • A root canal - £110-£250 per root
  • Veneers - £300-£600
  • Bridges - £400-£700
  • Dentures - £250-£800
  • Gum contouring - £100-£300

Many dentists and orthodontists will offer their patients finance plans to help them split the cost of the treatment over a number of months or even years.

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