The cost of NHS dental treatment in the UK
The UK has two types of dentist that you can visit, a NHS dentist and a Private dentist. Both will operate out of the same dental practice and usually a dentist will do both types of treatment. The page deals with NHS dentists and how their charging structure operate. We also have a page on private dentist price so that you can compare the difference.
All British citizens are entitled to dental treatment provided by the National Health Service. This treatment, however, is not free of charge like that received at a GP’s surgery.
If you pay for NHS dental treatment, there are three standard charges.
Note that you only pay one dental charge even if you need to visit more than once to complete a course of dentist treatment.
If you need more treatment at the same charge level (e.g. an additional filling) within two months of seeing your dentist, this is free of charge.
NHS Dentist Charges Structure
- £17.50 - This charge includes an examination, diagnosis and preventive care. If necessary, this includes X-rays, scale and polish, and planning for further treatment. Urgent and out-of-hours care also costs £17.50.
- £48 - This charge includes all necessary treatment covered by the £17.50 charge PLUS additional treatment such as fillings, root canal treatment or extractions.
- £209 -This charge includes all necessary treatment covered by the £17.50 and £48.00 charges PLUS more complex procedures such as crowns, dentures or bridges.
These charges are valid for any NHS dental treatments finished after 1st April 2012.
For the period of 1st April 2010 to 1st April 2012 the bands were £17, £47 and £204 respectively.
For the period of 1st April 2009 to 1st April 2010 the bands were £16.50, £45.60 and £198 respectively.
For the period of 1st April 2008 to 1st April 2009 the bands were £16.20, £44.60 and £198 respectively.
For the period of 1st April 2007 to 1st April 2008 the bands were £15.90, £43.60 and £194 respectively. The charges for work finished before this date were £15.50, £42.40 and £189 respectively for the 3 bands.
The table below therefore gives examples of the different bands certain treatments may be in*
|Dental work required||NHS Prices *|
|Large tooth filling||£128.50|
|Sedated tooth removal||£48.00|
|Small tooth filling||£48.00|
|Tooth Scale and Polish||£17.50|
You only pay one charge for each course of treatment, so for example if you had a check-up, X-ray, teeth polish, a simple filling and a crown you would pay a total of £204 if it all occurred within a two month period.
Preventative dentistry is better than cure, both in terms of how hard it hits your wallet and how much it hurts! Ideally you should visit your dentist every 6-12 months for a check up.
NHS dentist treatment is completely free if you are:
- Under 18 years old
- 18 but in full-time education
- Pregnant or have given birth within the last 12 months
- Receiving Income Support, Job-seeker's Allowance or 'Guarantee Credit' on your Pension Credit - or your partner is receiving one of these
Telephone the ‘Help with Health Costs Helpline’ on 0845 850 1166 for more information to see if you qualify for free NHS dentist care
*These dental bands are estimates only
Due to the number of comments on this page/topic we have moved further discussion to the forum.
"I would like to know why my NHS dentist wants to charge £200 to do root canal treatment and then £300 to crown the same tooth. I understood that the £198 would cover all the above work. when I asked my dentist he stated the cost only cover a single root tooth, for a back tooth with three canals it cost more as the NHS do not allow for the time. Am I being had over by my dentist?"
"Between a rock and a hard place- Carer for Incap. DLA. hubby- have to pay full rent & CT- both really need to visit dentist, but find difficult to pay, would help if dentist would accept weekly payment for higher charges."
"In response to some of the comments below: Crown price: the Govt/DoH set the current fees. The dentist does NOT receive these fees, but effectively gets the old fee - the difference in cost is frankly a stealth tax. The dentist has no control over NHS fees. Necessary treatment: the dentist is obligated to provide any CLINICALLY necessary treatment that the patient is willing to undergo. He is NOT obligated to do NHS work just because the patient wants it. 2 month "rule": this was put in by the govt to reduce their costs. Any removal of a tooth requires appropriate healing time (3-9 months usually) before a definitive restoration can be placed. Placing one earlier than this will usually result in a space developing between the bridge/denture and the tissues as they continue to reshape with healing. This often results in the appliance needing replacement within the first year at additional cost to the patient. As the denture/bridge is in a higher band than the extraction (in the case noted), there would still be the difference in fees to pay if the work was done within 2 months (£150+). Polish friend: I assume he's claiming benefits in order to receive free treatment. If you want the same, give up working! This is how the welfare state operates - those who work & pay taxes fund the care of those who don't. Hope this is helpful. "
"Fair enough prices but I have £390 worth of dentistry needed and all I want to do is pay monthly what do I do?"
"Note that dental treatment is also free for persons claiming working tax credits"
"Very informative!!! Many thanks."
Annette S Moyle
"Thank you - your guide is self explanatory and very useful. "
"I cannot understand WHY I had a gold crown 3yrs ago costing total of £80 yet today I am told I need another, they now only do Stainless Steel crowns & it will cost £197!"
"NHS fees may be reasonable, however this month alone I paid over £2512 in tax on my salary. Yet I have to pay for a dental check up, where as my Polish friend never having paid a penny to this country has treatment for free. Why ?"
Capt P Richardson
"I think That the NHS charges are extremely reasonable and extremely good value for money compared to what private dentists charge..it is very disheartening to see that inspite of this some of us complain about the fact that bridges need to be included within the first 2 months of treatment.It surprises me that people want to have the best possible treatment but pay the least possible amount for it.Please remember you always get what you pay for ."
"Very useful information. Its great to be able to check out the prices before you get into the chair! "
"You state that different bands include all necessary treatment within that band, our dentist has stated that it is at their discretion what treatment they carry out."
"I think its unfair about charges in band 2 and 3, that you have a time limit of 2 months when you get a tooth extracted it takes 3 months before they can fit a bridge so you end up paying for the tooth to be extracted, knowing that it should be 3 months time limit. Or is my dentist pulling the wool over my eyes."
"this information has been very helpful"
"You have answered the questions my NHS dentist reception was unable to. Thank you!"
"simple to understand and straight to the point thanks"
"extremely helpful, thanks"
"this has been very helpful. thanks"