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NHS dental services

Common dental treatments available on the NHS

The section below describes the common treatments available on the NHS. Find out more about dental health and dental treatments, including non-NHS treatments.

Alternatively, FAQs about best practice offers answers to most commonly asked questions about dental treatments and services.

Tell your dentist if you're not happy with the information or treatment they have given you. If you're not happy with their response or you feel uncomfortable about approaching them, you can make a complaint to the commissioning board, NHS England. If you are still not satisfied, you can take you complaint to the independent Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

You can also contact the General Dental Council (GDC) for advice. The GDC exists to protect all dental patients, both private and NHS. If you're concerned that the treatment you've received is below standard, you can also report a dental professional online on the GDC website.

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Crowns and bridges

Crowns and bridges are available on the NHS (Band 3, £219). As with all restoration treatments, they will need to be replaced in the future. They can also be provided privately.

Find out what NHS fillings and crowns are made of.

Dental abscesses

A dental abscess is a collection of pus that can form in the teeth or gums as a result of a bacterial infection. Dental abscesses can be treated on the NHS. If you feel unwell or have a large swelling in your face or mouth, your dentist may refer you to a local oral and maxillofacial unit for treatment. This treatment will also be under the NHS.

Read more information about dental abscess

Dentures (false teeth)

Dentures are removable false teeth made of acrylic (plastic) or metal. Dentures are available on the NHS (Band 3, £219)

Read more information about dentures and find out what NHS dentures, bridges and veneers made off.

Orthodontics for under-18s (teeth straightening)

Orthodontics is a type of dental treatment that aims to improve the appearance, position and function of crooked or abnormally arranged teeth.

This treatment is available on the NHS for under-18s if it's considered clinically necessary (Band 3, £219). There is a standard method for assessing whether orthodontic treatment is clinically necessary and available on the NHS. Treatment for minor irregularities is not provided by the NHS.

If you or your child are told that NHS orthodontic treatment is not necessary and you're unhappy with the decision, talk to NHS England, which is the commissioning body.

You cannot mix NHS and private treatment in orthodontics.

The British Orthodontic Society offers patient information about general orthodontics as well as information aimed at adults and teenagers.

Read more information about orthodontics and find the answers to common questions about braces.

Root canal treatment (endodontics)

Root canal treatment is a dental procedure to treat infection at the centre of a tooth (the root canal system). This treatment is available on the NHS (Band 2, £50.50). Your dentist should be able to provide it for you. However, in some cases your dentist may feel you would be better cared for by a specialist and may refer you to either a consultant or a dentist with a special interest (DwSI). The dentist should always discuss with you in advance whether treatment will be provided on the NHS or privately. The dentist can’t refuse to provide treatment under the NHS and then offer to perform the same treatment privately.

Find out more about root canal treatment.

Scale and polish

If your dentist recommends a scale and polish, it should be provided under the NHS (Band 1, £18.50), whether it is done by a dentist or a hygienist. If your dentist says a scale and polish is not clinically necessary but you want one anyway, you will have to pay to have it privately.

An NHS scale and polish should be carried out as thoroughly as a private one.

Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth can be removed on the NHS if this is necessary. However, guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence say they should not be extracted unless they are causing problems. Your dentist may perform the procedure or may refer you to a dentist with a special interest (DwSI) or to an oral and maxillofacial unit. This will be a separate course of treatment, so you may have to pay a Band 2 (£50.50) charge. If you are referred to a hospital for NHS treatment, you will not have to pay a charge.

Your dentist can also refer you for private wisdom teeth treatment if you wish.

Find out more about wisdom tooth removal.

White fillings

White fillings are available on the NHS where clinically appropriate. However, in some situations, silver-coloured (amalgam) fillings may be a more durable option. Fillings fall under Band 2 (£50.50).


The 10 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

2310shelldaz said on 17 October 2014

I have recently visited the dentist after trying to conquer my own fears after a really bad experience with the dentist when I was younger and hadn't been near one in 15 years I have a good dentist now and very pleased with the work he has done but my query is over the banding for treatments under band 2 it states you pay one fee no matter how many visits you need to complete the treatment but I have now had to pay 2 lots of the band 2 price because apparently my dentist has put my treatment down under 3 different treatment plans and always makes my appointments nine weeks apart. On my first visit I knew I needed approx 10 fillings 2 extractions and new dentures first visit 5 filling 1 extraction 2 visit 5 fillings next appointment 9 weeks later dentures 219 later and don't know if this is for both or each surely it's one treatment plan it was all documented when I had my first appointment. Can anyone advise on this as I can't find any info relating to how this works when I asked why I had to pay again I was told they can only do so much per plan surely this is a way of making us pay more

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Robbie83 said on 02 August 2014

Hello I would like some advise I'm on esa and need 2 fillings and have to go back over 2 trips this is covered up to £219
But the dentist says I have the start of gum disease and need to see the hygienist which cost £49 I can not afford this I thought I would be covered as I'm on esa could someone please help me.

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Petrandent said on 26 February 2014

A bridge is a fixed replacement for a missing tooth or teeth. A bridge on the NHS can be made of:
metal alloys containing 60% or more fine gold
metal alloys containing stainless steel, cobalt chromium or nickel chromium
acrylic (plastic) for temporary bridges.

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Maggie58 said on 21 January 2013

I paid £48 for extraction of 2 teeth and now the dentist is saying i'll have to pay £400 to have a plate with teeth on. She did not suggest that I had a plate until after the extraction. Do you pay for the amount of teeth on a plate? I have had 2 teeth on the bottom extracted now on both sides and eating is very difficult.

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ACHW said on 09 November 2012

How accurate are the details contained in this site please? I live in North Wales and have registered with NHS dentist. Last week I was told by a locum dentist at the practice that white fillings, crowns or crown bridges following damaged mouth are not available on NHS under any circumstances and can only be provided under private costings. They tried to channel me along the lines of having dental implants, which they declare are costed at £2,000 per tooth, far more than quoted here.

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N2236 said on 30 October 2012

i need to replace my old amalgam filling and i'm new to the country...i moved here 3 weeks ago.....what do i have to do to get band 2 treatment? i just go to any NHS dentist randomly and ask for treatment or do i need registeration with NHS first or what?

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N2236 said on 30 October 2012

i need to replace my old amalgam filling and i'm new to the country...i moved here 3 weeks ago.....what do i have to do to get band 2 treatment? i just go to any NHS dentist randomly and ask for treatment or do i need registeration with NHS first or what?

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paul9019 said on 20 October 2012

Hi i am due to visit my dentist to have a bridge fitted on band 3 £209.00 does anyone know how many bridges can be done in this price band is it just the one or as many as you need thanks paul

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mimi345 said on 08 October 2012

my dentist has recommended that I need two teeth capped and the charge for this will be £900, I cant afford that, I am recieving income support and I thought that I could have dental treatment at an affordable price. I have a dental plan which costs £10 a month and covers a check up and a hygentist session. I do think £900 is excessive for two caps and I would like to know if there is any way I can the trestment for a reasonable price?

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Fresh Breath said on 21 June 2012

How many S&P's am I entitled to in a year under the NHS?

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Page last reviewed: 04/08/2014

Next review due: 04/12/2014

This section is undergoing a review. NHS Choices is working together with NHS England and Healthwatch, incorporating patient feedback made to all parties.



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