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NHS dental services

NHS dental charges

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.

All the treatment that your dentist believes is necessary to achieve and maintain good oral health is available on the NHS. This means that the NHS provides any treatment you need to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy and free of pain.

Depending on what you need to have done, you should 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. You will not be charged for individual items within the course of treatment.

There are three standard charges for all NHS dental treatments:

  • Band 1 course of treatment – £18.50
    This covers an examination, diagnosis (including X-rays), advice on how to prevent future problems, a scale and polish if needed, and application of fluoride varnish or fissure sealant.
  • Band 2 course of treatment – £50.50
    This covers everything listed in Band 1 above, plus any further treatment such as fillings, root canal work or removal of teeth.
  • Band 3 course of treatment – £219.00
    This covers everything listed in Bands 1 and 2 above, plus crowns, dentures and bridges.

See dropdown box below for a list of dental treatments in each band.

If your dentist says you need a particular type of treatment, you should not be asked to pay for it privately. Find out more about what’s available on the NHS.

Urgent care
If you need urgent care, even if your urgent treatment requires more than one appointment at the same dentist to complete, you will only need to pay one Band 1 charge. Read more detailed information about dental emergencies.

You may get free NHS dental treatment if you meet certain criteria. For more information, read about help with dental costs.

Treatments free of charge

You do not have to pay a dental charge:

  • to have your dentures repaired (sometimes it's not possible to repair dentures and a new denture may be required, which you would need to pay for as a Band 3 charge)
  • for having stitches out
  • if your dentist has to stop bleeding from your mouth
  • if your dentist only needs to write a prescription, although if you pay for prescriptions you will still need to pay the usual charge when you collect your medicine from your pharmacist

Find out more about help with prescription costs.

If you get referred to another dentist

If you're referred to another dentist as part of an existing course of treatment, you should only pay one charge. However, if your dentist refers you to another dentist, this is generally regarded as a separate course of treatment and you will have to pay a second charge. The amount you need to pay will depend on the treatment you need. 



If you have completed a course of treatment and need more treatment

If you have completed one course of treatment but you need another treatment, you do not have to pay again if:

  • You need more treatment within the same or a lower charge band (such as another filling) within two months of completing a course of treatment. As long as you discussed the problem with the dentist during that time, they will try to fit you in as soon as possible. However, if they have to offer you a later appointment, you should not be charged again.
  • You need repair work or a replacement for certain types of restoration within a year of the original work being done. You should return to the same dentist.

When to pay for your NHS treatment

Different dental surgeries have different requirements. Some may ask for the whole payment for your treatment up front, while others will ask you to pay after it has all been completed. Check with your surgery when you come for your initial check-up.

How to claim a refund

If you think you’ve been charged wrongly or that you've paid too much, talk to your dentist in the first instance. They will know what work was done and whether it was NHS only or a mix of NHS and private work. The dentist will be able to make the relevant refund if appropriate.

If you are not happy with their response, you can complain to the commissioning board, NHS England. For more information, read the NHS complaints procedure.

If you paid for NHS treatment but later found out that you were entitled to have it free of charge or to pay a reduced amount, you can claim a refund of the NHS charge. You need to do this within three months of the date that you paid. To find out how to make a refund, read about help with dental costs.

List of dental treatments by Band

All the treatment your dentist believes is necessary to achieve and maintain good oral health is available on the NHS. This means that the NHS provides any treatment you need to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy and free of pain. It does not include treatments such as teeth whitening or veneers, which you might want to make your teeth more attractive but which are not clinically necessary.

Here is a list of what your treatment can include:

Band 1 course of treatment: £18.50

  • clinical examination, case assessment and report
  • orthodontic case assessment and report
  • advice, dental charting, diagnosis and treatment planning
  • radiographic examination, including panoral and lateral headplates, and radiological report
  • study casts including in association with occlusal analysis
  • colour photographs
  • instruction in the prevention of dental and oral disease including dietary advice and dental hygiene instruction
  • surface application as primary preventive measures of sealants and topical fluoride preparations
  • scaling, polishing and marginal correction of fillings
  • taking material for pathological examination
  • adjustments to and easing of dentures or orthodontic appliances
  • treatment of sensitive cementum

Band 2 course of treatment: £50.50

  • non-surgical periodontal treatment including root-planing, deep scaling, irrigation of periodontal pockets and subgingival curettage and all necessary scaling and polishing
  • surgical periodontal treatment, including gingivectomy, gingivoplasty or removal of an operculum
  • surgical periodontal treatment, including raising and replacement of a mucoperiosteal flap, curettage, root planning and bone resection
  • free gingival grafts
    permanent fillings in amalgam, composite resin, synthetic resin, glass ionomer, compomers, silicate or silico-phosphate, including acid etch retention
  • sealant restorations
  • endodontic treatment of permanent or retained deciduous teeth
  • pulpotomy
  • apicectomy
  • extraction of teeth
  • transplantation of teeth
  • oral surgery including surgical removal of cyst, buried root, unerupted tooth, impacted tooth or exostosed tooth and alveolectomy
  • soft tissue surgery in relation to the buccal cavity and lips
  • frenectomy, frenuloplasty, frenotomy
  • relining and rebasing dentures including soft linings
  • addition of tooth, clasp, labial or buccal flange to dentures
  • splints (other than laboratory made splints) in relation to periodontally compromised teeth and in connection with external trauma
  • bite raising appliances (other than laboratory made appliances)

Band 3 course of treatment: £219.00

  • laboratory made porcelain or composite veneers, including acid etch retention
  • inlays, pinlays, onlays and palatal veneers, in alloys containing 60% or more fine gold, porcelain, composite resin and ceramics
  • crowns including any pin or post aids to retention:
    – full or three-quarter crown cast in alloys containing not less than 33⅓% fine gold or platinum or palladium
    – full or jacket crown cast in alloys containing stainless steel or cobalt chromium or nickel chromium
    – crown in porcelain, synthetic resin and other non-metallic crowns
    – full or jacket crowns in alloys containing not less than 33⅓% fine gold or platinum or palladium, or alloys containing stainless steel or cobalt chromium or nickel chromium, with thermally bonded porcelain
    – jacket crown thermally bonded to wrought platinum coping
    – prefabricated full or jacket crown, including any pin or post retention
  • bridges including any pin or post aids to retention:
    – bridges in alloys containing 60% or more fine gold with or without thermally bonded facings
    – bridges cast in alloys containing stainless steel, cobalt chromium or nickel chromium, with or without thermally bonded facings
    – acid etch retained bridges
    – bridges in other materials
    – provision of full (completed) or partial dentures, overdentures and obturators in synthetic resin or metal or both synthetic resin and metal, including any cast or wrought metal components or aids to retention
    – orthodontic treatment and appliances
    – other custom made applications excluding sports guards


The 100 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

dycebabe said on 19 October 2014

I had a chipped veneer fixed less than 10 days ago. Tonight the piece thst was supposed to be fixed broke clean off, will I have to pay to have this repaired again ?

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Meez said on 14 October 2014

Hello, I had a tooth out yesterday and slightly regretting it as the gap can be seen when I smile. I live in sussex and my dentist told me I could not get root canal treatment on the nhs anywhere in my area only private costing between £300-800. Is this correct? If so why is root canal listed in the costing bands for nhs? Hope someone may be able to answer to this.

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Hollyhocks2 said on 11 September 2014

I registered as a nhs patient in january had a consult and another appointment for a filling this cost me £31.00 and was told to make an appointment with dental hygienist which i did.I had a 30 min appointment and was charged £42.00 and was told by hygienist to make another appointment to finish the scale and polish which i did but i could not attend due to a bad bout of sinusitus.I went for my check up in july no treatment needed but was told to make an appointment with hygienist so i did paid my £18.50.At hygienist appointment was charged a further £42.00 noticed the dental charges poster in surgery and decided to look on here.I did as suggested and queried the charges re a phonecall today and was told hygienist was private and if the dentist thought you needed a clean she sent you to her.I pointed out that there is nothing in the surgery that stated this, she did not take any of my details just said she would pass on my comment What do i do now apart from not go there again.

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jammy1234 said on 23 August 2014

I havent visited a dentist for around 10 years. The last dentist I visited fitted me four front veneers on the NHS. I began to have pain in my two back teeth around a year ago, so decided to re register with a dentist only to find there were no dentists taking on NHS patients in my area. I found a dentist eventually who in my opinion isnt very friendly (neither is his dental nurse, she doesnt talk a lot). Im a nervous patient anyway so appreciate when they try to put you at ease.. not here... Anyway, I visited him and straight away had two back teeth out one on each side. Fair enough, I dont work so I didnt have to pay for the treatment. No problem with that visit. Then I started having problems with my veneers, the one is coming off a lot so a family member has offered to pay for me to have the four veneers re done. I have asked him to re do these for me. My answer was that he was not confident of doing veneers and they look bad! ok fair enough, thats his opinion. he said my gums were in ok shape and my teeth were pretty good. I decided to go for a second opinion knowing there are no other dentists in my area taking on NHS i was willing to pay to have a check up with another dentist and pay the £50.00 fee privately. I was horrified to find out that I have advanced gum disease, and a number of holes in my back teeth after having a number of xrays. The dentist said she would consider doing my veneers after 6 months once i got my gums in shape etc but apparently i have a lot of bone loss. Why hasnt the other dentist explained this to me? The second opinion dentist told me I have to accept that I have gum disease and that eventually I will notice all my teeth becoming loose. If I loose my teeth due to this condition will I have to pay for implants? because I just think its pointless paying £3000.00 for the veneers if my teeth are going to fall out eventually anyway. Im only 30. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Mumma Melly said on 23 August 2014

I was charged £280.50 to have a wisdom tooth extracted, a filling and a bite guard. I explained that I had no income and was an NHS patient. I am now in trouble with my husband for spending his money. I was initially told I would need a crown and they gave me a treatment plan for it. I was later told that I would only need a filling but they did not amend the price. They also said it would cost £80 to extract my wisdom tooth. I said I did not have £80. I was told it could be done at hospital but by the time my appointment came the tooth next to my damaged wisdom tooth would be beyond repair. It took several visits before they did the filling so I'm sure it could have waited for the hospital appointment.

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legspinner20 said on 05 August 2014

If the Band 1 charge of £18.50 includes a descale and polish, why does my wife's dentist always refer her to the Hygenist? Should he not be doing the work himself?

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michellecraft said on 31 July 2014

A victory. Our dentist will now do a bridge on NHS.

Tho now saying may not work cos of another crown and filling on next door teeth and a denture may be only option(also NHS). I wonder if a denture is just easier for dentist.

Why this was not mentioned before extraction I do not know(as root canal/crown was an option)!!!

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michellecraft said on 22 June 2014

Steve, re your bridge below. This is what you should get on nhs

bridges including any pin or post aids to retention:
– bridges in alloys containing 60% or more fine gold with or without thermally bonded facings
– bridges cast in alloys containing stainless steel, cobalt chromium or nickel chromium, with or without thermally bonded facings
– acid etch retained bridges
– bridges in other materials

A friend went for a checkup was told needed work on a broken tooth, went away to think, decided on extraction and bridge. When went back I argued that check up and extraction was band 2 all inclusive (so got the band 2 charge in total)although they tried to charge band 1 and band 2 . Was then told bridge would be £700 (a shock!). I argued it should be band 3 less band 2 already paid and we left . Dentist rang back and said could do for £300 to £400. I am still convinced should be band 3 in total. My friend goes back end of July (3 months after extraction) so we shall see. I will ask why has to be more than band 3 in total from start to finish.

Root canal and a basic crown would have been cheaper and could all have been done under band 3 but this was not made clear i do not think.

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cassabells said on 11 June 2014

Extremely dissappointed with NHS dental system, had been with the same NHS dentist for 32 years when it changed hands due to my dentist retiring upon which i was allocated a new dentist who I didnt gel with as could not understand his broken english, he was from russia, asked could i see someone else was told no as all the other dentists at the surgery were full, so percevered until my front tooth came loose and he told me he would take it out and i could have a denture, ( i was 42) no discussion about other options apart from he could leave it in and i could drink soup see how long it lasts before falling out , i was devastated and asked for a second opinion only to be told if i did i would not be able to continue to see the dentist i didnt want to see in the first place but also i would have to wait for a vacancy to come up with another dentist if i wanted to stay on the NHS register at that surgery, anyway cut a long story short after nearly 2 years of not having been back to that dentist a tooth broke and started hurting, i phoned the dentist up to be told sorry your no longer registered with us on NHS and we are not taking on any new paying patients, so I ended up going to a dentist whos prices seemed reasonable on their web site to be told i needed root canal treatment and it would cost £906 including the £30 emergency appointment fee, thats nearly my monthly wage!

To go and get a quote from other dentists means paying a new patient fee every time which seem to vary from £30 upto £60 just for a quote, might as well just have it pulled out!

I work full time and now have to make choices on somehow paying extortionate dental fees to save teeth or have teeth removed and wear dentures which arent cheap private either, I pay into the NHS but am still expected to find money to have dental treatment, its not right! this country just sucks people dry if they work!

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sheptenelan said on 03 June 2014

Six months ago I had to have the base of a tooth taken out which had for many years supported a crown, I was told I would require a bridge if I wished to replace the tooth. Believing the extraction and the bridge would be all charged at level 3 NHS charge, I asked if that was the case. The dentist told me that it would be six months before the gum healed from the extraction, and that the bridge would be a new treatment, so I paid £50 or whatever and left.

Yesterday I returned to the dentist believing that I would begin treatment for the bridge, the dentist told me I needed a filling, scaling and took a couple of x-rays. But what concerns me is she told me that the bridge that would be supplied under the NHS would not be good enough as I had a heavy bite or something like that. I was told that I would have to have it made privately at a cost of around £700, she went on to tell me that I could pay it interest free over twelve months and that I could obtain details from the receptionist. I was then told the treatment I had received, including the filling at my next visit would be £55.50, so once again no full course of treatment at level 3.

Is what she told me correct, would a bridge made under the NHS be an inferior bridge or is it malpractice in order to obtain more money from patient's. There is also the possibility that Dentist's are advised by NHS to steer people away from obtaining the more expensive treatments. Advice please.

Cheers, Steve

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Mike Hammer said on 30 April 2014

I suppose this is more of a gripe that a view, about 2/3 years ago i visited my NHS dentist because a crown was giving my some pain. I was told that the crown needed to be removed for this to be looked at. I was also told that he (the dentist) could not do this work.
He refereed me to another dentist, a private one. I went along as i did not know at the time it was a private practice. I was duly examined and was told that to carry out the work needed would cost £2750.00! I told the dentist i could not afford that to which he replied go back to your dentist and tell him to carry out the work which i duly did. He done a fair job.
My gripe is why was i refereed in the first place.
We are at the mercy of these people why can't they do their job.

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misscarr said on 22 April 2014

Could anyone please help?

My front four teath are wearing away (I forgot the medical term for it) my dentist said that I need to have 4 crowns within the next 15 months or my teeth will wear away so much that I will need dentures. This is fine, however, he said that I would need to go private at a cost of around £1000!

I can't afford this without taking out a loan, or paying on credit card, and on this site it states that no dentist should say that work needs to be done privately - if it is needed.

I'm only 24, I don't want to lose my teeth, but also can't afford the price quoted.

What do I do?

Any help is much appreciated.

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clodhopper said on 19 April 2014

I am happy with my dentist but I no longer get a scale and polish I am asked to see the practice's hygienist which costs £50. Is this normal?

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DentistNortheast said on 06 April 2014

To everyone on this page who is concerned about their treatment and costs.

Root canal and the re treatment of a root canal is available on the NHS. I do many every week. you will find dentist that do not like to do them as they only get paid a band 2 for a treatment that can take over an hour or in the case of a re treatment maybe 2 hours. This therefore makes this treatment financially nonviable and this why people will not do your root canal. To get it done ask the practice manager of the practice how you complain to the NHS and make a formal complaint. But you must have specific details about what you need to have done and why they are refusing to do it. Also if you are paying for a b2 and you think it should be a b1 you need to know why if you are getting a b2 clean that is the treatment for periodontal disease.

Please take an interest in your treatment plan ask questions a good dentist will be happy to answer them and will be delighted to explain. At the end of the day most of us want to make you better.

Another point dentists do not get paid the money you pay to the reception that money goes to the NHS. The dentist gets paid a set fee for each treatment plan depending on the banding category it falls into. This pay is dependent on each area and varies significantly. They pay and labwork bills out of this pay as well and 50%+ to the practice if they do not own the practice. Also dentist are self employed and do not get a set salary if patients do not turn up or treatment takes too long they loose money as on some of the plans I have done recently. However for the honest dentist this is not an issue as its swings and roundabouts and we have accepted the system is poor and does not work for any party involved.

It is really important you get your treatment plan from your dentist and you understand what it means and the reasons you cannot have something done on the nhs. If you are not sure ring up the nhs complaints service or nhbsa and ask .

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Eugene M said on 26 March 2014

Small description of my problem: I've ate ice cream before 2 days of visit a dentist, I've got huge pain, when I drink a water or any other liquids

Dentist charged me 18gbp and 7.85 for prescription he gave me antibiotics, before make a prescription he've done 2 x-ray photos, after he told that need re-done root canal and that might cost me upto 400gbp! (I've visited other dentist, it again told 300-400gbp) (I seen small brown dot on 2 my 'back bottom teeth') that mean I need fix these 2 teeth and that might cost me around 1k gbp because need took a day off each time when I'll visit dentist, dentist told me that because I've already have fillings, I need re-done it.

Dentist told that it is not covered by band 2

What is going on? why I need pay ~1/3 of monthly net income for one tooth? I've just imagine, how people who do not have any savings or with small income can pay prices such that

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red6 said on 09 March 2014

Is it even possible to get a root canal done on the nhs anymore?

I have been to a few dental practices around se london and none of them will do a rct.they just make up silly even said that a rct is not needed and that the pain is caused by something else.but he's not sure what.

I remember seeing this on an episode of dispatches.something to do with the nhs not paying the dentist enough,so its not profitable to do any nhs work.

They charge privately for a hygienist and crown/bridge,reject rct.can they really be called a nhs dentist anymore?
Only thing under the nhs is the initial examination and extractions.

This is a serious issue that the government needs to sort out.

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ZoeSLeicester said on 26 February 2014

I have been going to the same dentist for many years and had put down a deposit of £30 for an x-ray and deep clean in Oct.

The receptionist booked me in for December even though I said I wouldn't be able to make it and said to just ring and change it.

I then rang and tried to book it for the week that I had off in Feb and she told me he was unable but would book me in at the end of Jan.

I then asked my mum to ring up as I work full time and tell them that I couldn't make it and to please ring me or I will ring them to re-schedule. Now every time we have rang we have asked is the amount left to pay still £19 and they said yes.

I have just rang today and they have told me that after 2 months the deposit is nil and void.
I was never made aware of this and booked in countless times when I wouldn't be able to make it.

I am going to talk to the manager but am I wrong in saying that I refuse to repay that lump sum again as I was not made aware of the time scales?

Any advice would be great!

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Mikey696 said on 20 February 2014

My NHS dentist discovered I have a problem with a root canal filling, picked up on an X-Ray. She says it is complex and requires a specialist to carry out the work and it will cost approx £500. Why should I be referred to a private specialist. Surely this should be covered by the NHS.

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mcundertaker said on 10 February 2014

I registered with a new dentist in December 2013 ater a lapse of 3 years.

I filled in all the paperwork & paid £18 which I was led to believe would include a scale & polish.
I went in to see the dentist& he took x-rays. I was called back in after about 10 minutes & told I had no tooth decay bt my teeth needed a good clean (which is what I expected after 3 years).
I thought he wa going to do the cean there & then, but he started totalk about coming back again & sent e out to make another appointment.

I have been back today & was asked to pay £31. I went into the dentist & he spent the grand total of 4 minutes cleaning my teeth. His assistant was surly, he wasn't much better & my teeth weren't polished - which used to be standardat my old dentist.

Looking at the banding system of charges, shouldn't my clean have been included in the initial £18?

I have never paid this much for a clean!

Any advice gratefully received :-)

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Cemajori said on 08 February 2014

Hi my son is being charged band 3 for dental treatment 2 veneers the dentist has told him he will have to pay privately for the crown that is needed surely this all should be covered under band 3 any help would be greatly appreciated

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theoldfart said on 07 February 2014

In April 2013 I visited my dentist,
She smeared some paste on top of of one of my fillings, no drilling, and charged me £49.

This month I'm back for a checkup, and the same tooth is cracked and now requires drilling out and filling. Another £49.

Should I have been charged £49 for the April 2013 visit, as it was such a minor fill job, which I expect wiped off straight away.

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catalonia13 said on 06 February 2014

I've just seen a new dentist (old one at same surgery retired) as had an infection, got read the riot act, he said he won't be doing any restorative treatment because of my 'lifestyle' (I have sugar in tea and eat sweets) said there's no point as he'll only have to do it again later and will only be doing basic management i.e. extraction and pain relief and wants to extract 5 of my teeth now, I'm reeling tbh

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Paula pickles said on 03 February 2014

Hi , I've recently had an enamel crown fitted on December 3rd 2013. After the dentist drilled the remainder of the tooth away she did an impression and told me to come back after 2 weeks to fit the crown. I had no temporary crown fitted , is this the right procedure? After experiencing a lot of pain in those 2 weeks she fitted the crown . I have had terrible tooth ache since and cannot eat with the tooth. I have recently returned to another dentist , at the same practise, (the dentist who fitted the crown was sick), and have been told I have an abscess. I am now on two different anti biotics . They have told me I need to have a root canal filling . My question is, I have paid 18 pounds for the check up and then 336 pounds for the crown, and then because the receptionist failed to tell me there was another charge for the second dentist , charged another 18 pounds. What is bugging me is they are considering charging me for the root canal filling . And I think they have not given me the right information about the crown and am worried that the problem was that they didn't fit a temporary crown whilst waiting for the enamel crown and an infection has occurred! Are they correct in charging me further. It is an nhs dentist!. Thank you for reading this and I await your reply.

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PaulineH64 said on 24 January 2014

I have been having NHS dental treatment for the last 2 months and was charged £214 for the course of treatment which had not been completed. When I went to the dentist again today they charged me another £49 but I was not told why. The receptionist just said the dentist had asked for this charge to be made. Why!!!

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cluckyhen said on 19 November 2013

Does anyone have any advice please?

7 years ago I had an accident and lost half of my front top tooth. This was replaced with a filling. A few weeks back it cracked and was replaced under Band 2. My dentist said that he didn't have the correct colour filling but the white would fade to match with 4 weeks. Today was my annual check up, same practice - different dentist as mine has now left. When I mentioned the tooth colour and feel he said he would only replace it privately - I queried this as I was told any further problems/filling staying bright white to come back and they would rectify it. Much debating later he agreed to it.

I also enquired about a scale and polish on the back of my front teeth as they are extremely squashed together and I can feel the plaque build up. This has been done yearly for 20 yrs by my previous NHS dentist, and my previous dentist advised I get it booked in on my annual check up - he has obviously left now and the new dentist agreed to book me in. When I went to reception they told me a scale and polish is not on the NHS and is £60. The practice manager was stood next to them and agreed that unless my new dentist had recommended it I would have to pay this charge as it was for cosmetic reasons (behind the teeth cosmetic?) I told him the dentist had agreed to my scale & polish, and the previous dentist had told me 6 weeks before to book it in at my check up - they are not backing down on this charge!

Obviously reading through the site scale & polish is under Band 1, but my query is - how can my previous dentist recommend it, my new dentist agree - but the staff and manager say it is £60???

I'm extremely confused?

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roses91 said on 15 November 2013

I need advice!

I'm a part time student, looking for work, unsuccessful up to date. My boyfriend barely earns enough for us to eat but we can't claim any benefits or help.

Does this apply to dental costs?

I have a horrible toothache and I can't even afford a band 1 check up, what am I supposed to do?

I'm so upset with my teeth, I had my first ever filling 6 months ago and my mouth has given me nothing but trouble since :'(

I don't even feel like I can open my mouth in public, it's really upsetting...

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LookingforAdvice said on 22 October 2013

Hi, I really need some advice.
I am a full time student and also get tax credit exemption.
I had problems with my lower left tooth towards the back of my mouth, I went to the dentist a few months ago, she cleaned it and then said I would need an inlay and took impressions. Less than a week later i had an intense toothache where it got an infection, i got antibiotics and she then said i would have to have root canal treatment before having the inlay put in. I had my first root canal treatment about 2 weeks ago (she said it would take about 3 treatments), again, i got an infection and severe toothache, got a different type of antibiotics.
I was told today i could either go ahead with root canal and risk getting further infection but won't be able to get antibiotics to clear it - i can't handle that pain again. The other options were to get the tooth extracted then after 6 months i could get bridges and crown - this she said was only available privately and would cost about £300 per piece, or option 3, pay £2000 for a screw in tooth.
Is this correct that I would have to pay as much as this and it is only available privately? especially as i am a student and on tax credits? Looking at fees, it says crown and bridges are part of band 3?? I'm confused.
I ended up going away today to think about which option to take, i don't think i can continue with root canal from the horror stories i've read. Obviously £200ish is alot more affordable than the £900 she quoted me so really need to know to help me make a decision.
sorry for the long post, just need help

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teenyqueen said on 15 October 2013

What most patients don't know is that general practice dentists are not employed by the NHS to do dentistry, they are self-employed business owners who have a contract with the NHS to provide a specific number of treatments and so are not paid a salary. I work in a dental practice, which my partner owns and we have found that the compensation my partner receives for doing NHS work barely covers the costs of materials and staff wages.

For instance, on the NHS a non-exempt patient will pay £49 for band two, which includes any number of fillings, root canal treatment etc. So patient pays £49 if he needs 1 filling, or 9! Clearly this is very poor value for the dentist as money paid by the patient doesn't even cover materials used. A dentist trains for 6 years to be a highly skilled professional so obviously he expects a high salary in return, after all NHS surgeons would not expect to be paid only £46 for an hours work and pay so much for staff wages, electricity, materials and equipment as well. The problem is not the dentists, it is the UDA system which gives very bad returns to dentists, who then are reluctant to do the work on the NHS. For instance, in order to satisty NHS targets for treatments, dentists are expected to do a scale and polish as well as check up all in the space of 10 min, which clearly is a very difficult thing to do. My partner does the best he can for his patients with limited resources, but the NHS does not make it easy.

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kimlw67 said on 30 September 2013

I've been to the dentist today. I was told that root canal treatment was covered under band 2. However my front teeth are chipped and need filling, but as my dentist only offers silver fillings on the NHS (which of course I don't want in my front teeth) they told me I had to go privately at a cost of £430.00. They also told me he hygienist only sees private clients so have to pay £43.00. I think they are trying to rip me off.

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tdiddy said on 19 September 2013

Not sure who to ask. I saw the dentist on 30th Aug for a checkup. Had a x-ray on both sides as left filling was tender. Having it coated on 24th Sept. Dentist said that the rest of my teeth were fine. Paid £18. An hour ago my tooth on my upper right side with a filling felt weird. Half of my tooth has disappeared on the front and showing half of my filling. I am seeing the dentist on Tuesday, what shall i do? How much shall i pay? Any advice would be great, thankyou.

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worrier of Dorset said on 18 September 2013

I registered with a dentist about 6 week ago, ad recently I found when food got under my lower plate, the plate came up.and I couldn't eat properly. Last Friday we booked a last minute holiday, leaving in 12 days time so I phoned to see if I could get an appointment before the holiday. I visited the dentist today and he bent the metal band at the end, taking 5 mins at the most, to make a tighter fit, and at reception they charged me £49. I asked if this was the Nhs charge and was told yes, so I paid. I am horrified that the NHS can charge this for such a minor procedure. I am a senior citizen and disgusted with the NHS

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Callingmrvain said on 11 September 2013

I wonder if anyone can advise me. My problem is partial dentures. I used a NHS Dentist for many years. He has always been excellent, but having these partial dentures fitted is a problem, the plate has broken twice so far. The dentures are approx. 2 and a half years old (not very old as far as I am concerned). I have relocated to Herne Bay, Kent, so don't want to keep visiting London. Dentist at Swalecliffe excellent but don't want to keep spending £214 on new dentures or even worse £480 privately. Do these dentures have any sort of guarantee as to how long they should last.

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tdiddy said on 10 September 2013

Hi just after some advice. Every time I have a check-up I have never bee offered a polish, should I complain? I had a check-up last week and have to go back for a filling. I paid the Band 1, will I have to pay again when I go back?
Thanks x

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huggy121 said on 06 September 2013

Need some advice regarding dental charges. I know I have severe gum disease because I was diagnosed a few years. I have had root planing done about 5 years ago at an NHS specialist that I was referred to by a previous dentist.

I now find that my current dentist is recommending that I have the same treatment done (debridement/root planing) again but has only advised that I have it done by the hygenist at the same practice for £400 privately. I have not been given the option of using an NHS dentist/specialist to do the work.

I do not have the money as I am working and not unemployed and on benefits! Surely there must be a way of getting this treatment without having to fork out this much money.

When I was first told I had gum disease a few years ago the then dentist gave me the options, private and NHS. I opted for an NHS specialist that I had to make several visits to in another town.

This time all that was said was that I had to make an appointment with the hygenist and it would be £400.
I should have queried it straight away but did not!
I think I was so shocked by how much it was.

What next? I have made the appointment and paid £100 so far but I intend to get advice about this high fee hence why I am writing this.
Anyone got any advice? Help would be much appreciated.

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dillan56 said on 30 August 2013

I had a tooth come out so I went in and had it put in which I paid £17.50 but a few days later it came out again so I went in and he tried to put it in but would not stay so he made up one and I had to pay again
should this not been charged as one treatement

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shawmack said on 25 August 2013

Can anyone help because I don't think this is fair....I have a crown (upper front) that I have had for over 20yrs, it keeps falling out so the dentist said I will have to have a new crown made costing £214, but i have to have a false tooth breore this can be done to allow my gums to 'shrink' so therefore because its over 3 months I will have to pay ANOTHER £214!!!!! How is that right??? £428 for 1 tooth!!!!!! H E L P :(

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Dannyboy76 said on 01 June 2013

I went to new dentist today (first visit in 3 years). They do NHS and private work. The dentist told me I needed a large filling near the back of my mouth but recommended a composite filling as she said it would decrease my chances of needing a crown on it in future. As composite isn't done on the nhs it costs £160. Based on her advice I decided to pay the £111 extra (than a metal nhs filling) and go for the composite filling. She also recommended a scale and polish by the hygienist , which is a private cost of £68. I have since found out that scale and polish can be done on the nhs for much cheaper ?
I agreed to the whole treatment plan and have already put down a 50% deposit for the filling (£80) but now I am having all sorts of doubts. I'd really appreciate it if anyone could kindly answer the following questions for me? :
1)Does the composite filling sound like a better option for me than the metal filling?
2)Is £160 a reasonable price for a large composite filling?
3)Should I be able to claim the £90 deposit back if I decide against the composite filling?
4)Shouldn't the dentist be offering me a scale and polish on the nhs price?

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bobbyrae said on 21 May 2013

I went for an emergency appointment last week because I was having a lot of pain in my gum assuming this had to do with my wisdom tooth. I phoned 111 and they advised I go see a nhs dentist in which I did. As i suspected I had an infection in my gum which was caused because my wisdom tooth was coming through and there wasn't enough space for it. My dentist said the infection was caused because i had been chewing on my gum. He prescribed me some amoxicillian and told me that the tooth needed to come out. I read on this page that I wouldn't be charged for the appointment if all they did was write a prescription. I was charged £18 for that appointment and the receptionist booked me in for the following week to get the tooth removed. I went to my next appointment fully prepared for my tooth extraction and instead had an xray done and a mould done for a mouth guard, when I told the dentist that I was expecting my tooth to be pulled he just replied with 'it's up to you' I asked him if my infection would return if I didn't have my tooth pulled and he just replied with you have to wait and see. I got told I would get charged £209 pound for the mouth guard and had to pay a following £18 for the appointment. I left there feeling very confused and out of pocket. I feel like I've been conned and I'm not sure what to do?? Any feedback would be grateful.

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30barbie said on 15 May 2013

Hi can anyone give me some advise please I have had a tooth go wobbly after eating a sweet the tooth had already got a filling or root canal in it, I have seen my dentist and he said I had 4 options the tooth has to come out so i can live with the gap, have a false one on a plate or have a bridge which would cost £1200 or an implant that is over £2000! I don't understand the prices as I am a nhs patient with an exemption card and the research I have done shows that it should cost a band c charge of £214, I'm very confused and obviously can not afford these charges so feel forced to have a false tooth at 30 when I would much rather have a bridge, any ideas on what I can do would be greatly appreciated

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calcium09 said on 02 May 2013

I have had dental sedation yesterday for the removal of a tooth, I was sent there by my NHS Dentist to have this removed and have some fillings done, they have supplied me with a copy of my X-ray as they are sending me back to my dentist to have the fillings done there, will i be required to pay again?

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Stella12 said on 27 April 2013

My mother has recently changed to a different dental practice because her dentist for 10 yrs has moved to a different area. She received her first check up (after the usual 6 month period) last week and has been told she needs 2 fillings and a crown. Her previous dentist was very thorough and professional and we are wondering why she has now been told she needs this work doing. Should she seek a second opinion? We are concerned that as a new patient she may be being told she needs uneccessary work doing. Mym other is 80 and has not had any serious problems with her teeth in general.

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vron said on 19 April 2013

I emailed NHS direct last November to ask them to change an item on the items that are free of charge are of the web site as from November the no charge if you just have a prescription item changed and from November there may well be a charge if you just have a prescription. I am disappointed to find 5 months later that this has still not been changed and is giving misleading information to the patient , Cauing us in the surgery much grief. Also 3 wks after dental changes increased, we are still waiting for our new surgery leaflets and posters from the NHS

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Sarah Bee said on 08 April 2013

If you mean changing dentists as in going to a different surgery then you won't get the £17.50 taken off the Band 3 charge for the treatment as what you pay will be surgery specific, it wouldn't get carried over t a totally different surgery.

I think that might depend on the circumstances as the NHS has a lot of strict regulations that dentists have to adhere to when giving treatment which might be why a private bridge was suggested opposed to an NHS one. Might be worth going back to the dentist and bringing it up or getting a 2nd opinion.

laura E:
There might have been a bit of confusion when explaining the prices. A root canal filling is a Band 2 (£48/£49) on the NHS and a crown is a Band 3, so £209/£214 with the price rise. If you chose to have both you'd only have to pay £209 in total as this will include the Band 2 charge as well. They won't be allowed to charge you seperately for both if you have them done in the same course of treatment and it's within two months.

Usually the denture repairs do cost £17.50 to £48(or £18 to £49 with the new prices). If you go back for a check up within two months of paying that it should be knocked off/paid for...worth checking first though! Also, you can request an NHS scale and polish which is included in your Band 1 charge...they might charge extra if it's a private scale you're having but this should be made clear to you before going ahead with the treatment.

Hope I helped a little! :)

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TopGum73 said on 01 April 2013

I have just come across this comments section and as an NHS dentist I am disappointed at all the patients who are confused by what is and is not available on the NHS...your dentists must spend time giving clear treatment plans etc When considering what is available on the NHS it is in fact a lot easier to state what Iis not available....1. Cosmetic work, 2. Sports gum shields 3. Implants except in exceptional circumstances.
Crowns, bridges, dentures etc are all available but, and there is always a but...Only if clinically indicated I.e only if it benefits your oral health. Periodontal treatment for gum disease is available and should not be provided privately., Unless you request this of course. Hygienists can provide it and, for a Band II charge my patients get two visits to a hygienist along with their check up. Root canal therapy on back teeth is available (although with very bent roots a specialist may be required) We are registered with the CQC so we have a duty of care to give you clear treatment plans detailing costs and all practices must have a clear complaints procedure. Don't be afraid to ask questions, there are sound reasons for delaying some treatments and not others etc so ask, ask and ask again and your dentist should explain. If they don't, find someone who is happy with their dentist and move to them.

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Brir01 said on 04 March 2013

My tooth fell out and I did not have a dentist, my local practice made me an emergency appointment. The dentist was reluctant to replace the missing tooth and said a bridge was available at a cost of around 900 pounds and said I should just leave it as it was, I said that I would prefer something to fill the gap so he moulded me for a denture. The question is is a bridge available on the NHS as I paid the 209pounds for my treatment.

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griggyZ said on 04 March 2013

Many of the comments here are moans about being charged for private treatment when nhs treatment was wanted. If you did not agree to private treatment put a formal complaint in writing! The procedure is described on this site. Unscrupulous dentists will ignore verbal complaints. Until more people complain properly these dentists will keep getting away with it!

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laura E said on 27 February 2013

I have been told by my dentist i need root canal treatment and a crown. I have been told it will cost £209 for the root canal and another £209 for the crown. Reading the info above and the price bands i'm not sure thats right?? Looks to me like i should pay £209 for both??

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noir_iris said on 26 February 2013

According to "If you have completed one course of treatment but you need another treatment, you do not have to pay again if:
You need more treatment...within two months..."
What if I went to see a doctor and paid 17.5, I still need another treatment but decide to change a dentist?
Thanks for answering!

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User749425 said on 18 February 2013

After putting off going to the dentist for far too long I have now decided I have no choice but to go. I am on the waiting list for a dentist in my area who does sedation as I'm going to need a lot of work done. This will include the removal of 9-10 broken teeth spread out top and bottom and the replacement by which I believe will be bridges?! So a lot of reconstruction. Reading all the bands ect I'm very confused on what will be covered, time scale between treatments. Does anyone have a rough idea?

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zoeob said on 11 February 2013

I broke my back tooth, had an abscess a couple of years ago and didn't get it treated so its rotted my tooth and it broke the other day so I don't have much of it left. I went to join an nhs dentist Friday, had to pay £17.50 there and then but after reading everyone's comments I am quite worried how much they are actually going to charge me. I haven't been to the dentist in 15 years so my teeth aren't in great condition but also I cannot afford £600 bill like other people have had!!! Any suggestions......

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User746196 said on 05 February 2013

Just been to the dentist for the 1st time in a great number of years (probably about 17yrs was my last visit) .Had a filling come out and the pain has got steadily worse over a couple of own fault for not going regularly I know.

Wow is all I can say as someone with a serious phobia of dentist I was as nervous as a nervous thing..The dentist put me at ease explained what they were doing at every stage & told me to put my arm up if I needed them to stop.

Turns out I need a root canal so going back in a couple of days for the next treatment and then one more after that, all for £209.00 compare that to starting price at about £500 for private treatment and I can't see what people are moaning about, myabe I've been lucky and just got a really good nice dentist but so far I am very happy and will go back to complete the treatment..

This is someone with tetracyline stained teeth so I know I will never have a "Hollywood Smile" (not that I want one at my age) but very happy with my NHS dentist. I guess I am lucky though as I live in SW London and the road where the dentist I have been, does have literally 5 dental pactices in a row pretty much, so people can choose which one they go to...Any phobics out there please "bite the bullet" & go to the dentist explain that you do have a phobia & they should put you at ease as mine has.

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Sugarless24 said on 31 January 2013


I'm very confused about dental charges now. Dentists don't explain things properly, and even on this site, I find the statement about denture charges misleading.

It says that denture repairs are free, but I've found out it isn't as simple as that. Is it correct that if I say, after a year, get a crack in my dentures, and make an appolntment with my dentist, would I get them repaired for nothing, but have to pay the £17.50 for the appointment with my dentist?

Also, if you ask for a scale and polish at your check up, you have to pay extra, but if your dentist says you need a scale and polish, it's included in the £17.50 check up price?


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Rt1100 said on 29 January 2013

Hi, does anyone know which band a night guard would fall under? Thank you!...

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london_girl said on 29 January 2013

My dad started some treatment. They said he needed referral to kings before they could complete treatment, this he had (after 2 months waiting for an appointment). He went back today and they've said he must start (and pay for...) a new course of treatment before they complete the last lot of work?
Is this correct?

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Susansusan said on 20 January 2013

Visited the site to see cost of a crown for my daughter and saw some of the comments about cost.
Nessie - i think the NHS price is for a full course of treatment and band 3 inckudes everything so i dont think your dentist can demand £300 more. Go to citizens advice or call them for advice.
Guy who is in pain and cant afford treatment - emergency care is free. Often there are weekend emergency clinics in your area so why not ring at weekend? For e eryone else, i have poor teeth and always had to pay max charge for every course and realised it was cheaper to join a dental plan- i pay monthly and the treatment is better - get priority for emergency treatment, get scale and polish free whenever i want one and get free hygienist apptmt every 3 months. Only thing i pay for is lab work for denture, crown etc usually £50 max.

Hope this helps.

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Marco87 said on 18 January 2013

Hi everybody !

I'm an italian student moving to UK next summer for a Master of Science in London. I will be in the Uk for one year, but I'm planning to stay for two years at least. I have a third class malocclusion, and as I will be at least two years in the UK I'd like to know if I can wear barces and do the surgery free of charge as in Italy through the NHS, if I have to pay something or if i can't use the NHS services for this problem.

Thanks :)

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ultrajapes said on 10 January 2013

@essex133 - If you have Pension Credit guarantee credit then you are entitled to free NHS treatment.

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Nessie67 said on 04 January 2013

Hi, I have been to my dentist today and still in shock. Just before Christmas I was told my treatment would cost £209, this was for one crown & two fillings....Today I,ve been to start the treatment....after drilling tooth number one I was told the tooth was worse than thought and my treatment would cost an additional £380...bringing my bill to £600.
Can,t help thinking I,m being ripped off....Your thoughts and advice please :(

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essex133 said on 02 January 2013

In response to damo78's comment, I do see your point but if you had read my original post, you would have noticed that benefit claimants certainly do NOT get all their vital dental treatment for Free! Because as an OAP who has worked all my life but am now on Pension Credits and Housing Benefits, I still have to pay £35 for a 20 minute session with a Hygienist to sort out the 'bad gum disease' that I apparently have even after visiting my previous dentist every 6 months for 12 years! And this 20 minute session apparently includes about 15 minutes of treatment plus 5 about minutes 'clearing up' time! I am also still expected to pay hundreds of pounds for root canal treatment!

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damo78 said on 02 January 2013

What annoys me is that I, like plenty of others, pay several hundred of pounds per month in National Insurance, yet I then have to pay extra to have dental work done on the NHS.

I cannot afford this, and as I result I have quite a few dental issues, which are currently causing me quite a bit of pain, meaning I'm having to take several doses of Paracetamol every day (which works for about an hour at a time, so I have to put up with 3 hours of pain).

Because I'm a relatively high earner (but with a lot of debt from Uni, and a wife and two kids to look after), I can get absolutely no help with this treatment.

At the same time, those who pay absolutely nothing towards the NHS get their dental work done free of charge. I know not all are like this, and therefore this isn't aimed at all benefits claimants, however I know some who have never worked, and have no intention of ever working, yet they get better healthcare than those of us that have worked hard for years and pay loads towards the NHS.

Basic dental treatment should be free for all, or at the very least dental treatment such as fillings and extractions should be the same cost as a prescription (after all, its just treatment, much like a prescription is).

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essex133 said on 01 January 2013

I do not think there is any real point in any of us adding our 'comments' on this subject, as there seeems no way for anyone to respond to any of them? And I very much doubt that anyone with any aurthority is even remotely interested in any of our complaints!

Nevertheless, I will still add my two penneth! I think it is absolutely shameful that OAP's like me and other genuinely poor people in this country can no longer get the dental treatment they need free! I went to the same dentist for 12 years and he never referred me to a hygenist or told me that I had 'bad gum disease'.

I recently registered at a new dental surgery and they told me I had very bad gum disease and needed a lot of Hygenist treatment to sort it out. So I booked my 1st appointment with the hygenist and paid £35 for the first 20 minutes. She then told me that I would need at least another two 30 minute sessions to get below my gums cleaned - at a cost of £70 per session! So to get most of my Hygrenist treatment done would cost me a total of £175!!!

The dentist then told me I needed root canal treatment and that they did not do root canal treatment on back teeth. He went on to say that I would need to find a dentist that did and pay hundreds of pounds for them to do it!

How on earth do they think someone on Pension Credit or any other benefit can possibly afford to pay £500 or more for dental treatment? But they do not care. Their stance is obviously, if you're too poor to afford to pay that kind of money, then all you can do to stop being in constant pain is to have all your teeth out and wear dentures for the rest of your lives! And they call this a free National Health Service?

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User735900 said on 30 December 2012


I'm 21 years old and had braces as a child. I've however noticed my teeth have started to move over the years.

I've been to a private dentist and have been told I need periodontal treatment before they can fit braces which costs £400+.

Just wondering if it's possible to have the periodontal treatment under the NHS as well as the braces, and how much this would cost?

Thank you

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capricorn1 said on 29 December 2012

Poor dental care can affect your general health.
Unfortunately I simply cannot afford the most basic dental care so I leave my teeth to get so bad then have then have dealt with in hospital, not something I prefer to do but have no choice!

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Memorex said on 13 December 2012

NHS articles consistently state that under Band 3 crowns, bridges, etc. are covered, however, my dentist consistently states that bridges are NOT covered by the NHS. When I pointed out what NHS states is covered, the dentist basically said the NHS was lying. Who do I believe? A government agency or a dentist, who clearly wants to charge me as much as possible?

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jenbd said on 25 November 2012

Syn - dental treatment is NOT free in Scotland! I am an NHS patient at local dentist but still have to pay for check ups, treatment and scale and polish the same as England do.

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phill c said on 08 November 2012

I have recently started going to my local dental practice after a break due to an accident. They always advise seeing the Hygenist these days and every 3 months at that. the dentist hardly spends any time at all doing anything these days and the last visit i was in the chair 1 min and 35 seconds. At the last visit to the Hygenist I was told i had a cavity where a filling had fell out. the dentist was called in to conform this. I was told to come back next day and have this done. This i did after paying 45 pounds for the hygenist visit. I went next day and had the filling the hygenist. i assume shes qualified or are they allowed to do this now,. there was no denist supervising. When i left i was asked for another £49. I know dentists are important but I always feel ripped off when i leave. Phill

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ETrundleford said on 08 November 2012

"Dentistry is one of very few NHS services you have to pay for. "

Does the NHS Choices web team need an explanation of the system of tax and government spending?

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syn said on 07 November 2012

First of all I do not know how we can call
it NHS, if we have to pay anything.This is just
another back door tax.
The thing which really grates is, that
Scotland gets all NHS treatment free,
yet still want to govern themselves.

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wozzle01 said on 22 October 2012

I have been advised by my dentist that I need to have 2 teeth extracted. I has a very deep filling and is in a very poor state the other next to is is a crown which he said is where the recurring infection is coming from (so far in a month 2 lots antibiotic clear it up before extraction) my question is can I have these extracted on the NHS under a GA? He said there is a risk that one of them may break off and the crown could be a little tricky. I appreciate I will have to pay and that is fine but would rather be put out that have to go in the chair which I am petrified of doing. any comments/info much appreciated

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rhiannon23 said on 22 September 2012

I have had 6hours worth of root canal treatment on an old crown that got infected so I am not being charged £300 for the root canal and £209 for a new crown, does this seem right or a bit extreme???

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ellasmum said on 21 September 2012

I had 2 extractions and a partial denture fitted in June 2012 and paid the Band 3 fee of £209. I returned to the dentist less than 2 months later to complain about the fit and was told that because of changes to the gum after the extractions, that they wouldn't be able to do a re-alignment till 3 months had passed. I went today for the re-alignment and was horrified to be charged an extra £48.00. They informed me that the charge had to be made as more than 2 months had passed - if it had have been done within the 2 months, the re-alignment would have been at no charge. Is it me or what, I just feel I can't win. I feel that the cost of £209 should cover the service of making the dentures fit. Really not fair at all.

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whitefilling said on 21 September 2012

On the NHS should I have paid £80 for a white filling on a tooth that broke?

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kaderm said on 19 September 2012

I have seen 2 dentist in wembley both of them cannot do a bridge on my lower jaw's teeth (no 19).Can any one tell tell me where i can find a dentist in wembley or nw10 london area on nhs

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User711439 said on 12 September 2012

Three months ago I was entitled to free prescriptions and after a pay increase of about £70 per year apparently I can now afford to pay 17.50 for a check up and £48 for treatment. Perhaps I'll move to Wales where NHS charges are free or cheaper.

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R333NKA said on 12 September 2012

Front teeth are filled with white fillings on the NHS - fact. This is to address two needs of the patient: 1) clinical – the filling is to treat the tooth decay, and 2) esthetical - front teeth are visible so the fillings are white. However, white fillings have a bad habit of discolouring and going black with time (usually after many years). When they do, the second need of the patient (aesthetics) is compromised but the dentist will not replace them on the NHS.

My question is why not?

The patient's need for aesthetics is not met although it was addressed in the first place, when a white filling was put in place originally. So, if the white filling goes black because you dare to drink tea, an occasional coffee and red wine then you need to replace them privately. This sounds like a double standard.

Plus be prepared, your dentist won't be sympathetic and will hold you responsible for your discoloured fillings rather than seeing this as "one of those things" that you could do very little about but she or he can. He or she will defend the NHS policy on replacing discoloured white fillings in the front rather than thinking of your needs. She or he may even draw a parallel with breast implants - you wouldn't have these on the NHS, would you?

I am rather disturbed by the dental ethics of the aesthetics.

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User673967 said on 04 September 2012

Metal dentures and dentures that have clasps known as chrome dentures should be offered on the NHS under the band 3 charge of £209.00 if they are clinically necessary. E.g acrylic dentures are not functional and chrome dentures would be the best option to the patient.

Similarly, a scale and polish that is nesseccary on the NHS should be carried out under a band 1 charge of £17.50 and this includes if the patient is referred to the hygienist for this service. However, if your gum measurements and plaque scores show a scale and polish is not clinically necessary and it is just staining you are concerned with then this can be removed for a private charge.
If periodontal treatment is needed this is a band 2 charge of £48.00 and you should be charged the same amount regardless if the treatment is carried out by your dentist or the hygienist within the Practice.

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artd said on 02 September 2012

If your dentist recommends a scale and polish, it should be provided under the NHS (Band 1, £17.50), 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.
(Clip and paste)

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artd said on 02 September 2012

Scale & Polish is not an obligation for dentist to perform. It says clearly "if needed". Dentists have got the right to judge if is needed or not. Most people ( not all of course) think dentist should clean peoples' teeth for them which is obviously wrong!

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Moken said on 30 August 2012

Scale & Polish is not usually included in the above prices although it does say so, most dentists do not do the scale and polish you have to vist the Hygenist. The Hygenist is a private treatment, so beware. We have recently had this done we were charged £32.95 each for a 10 minute visit!!!

Treatment for me in Band 1 was £17.50 and £48 in Band 2 for my husband plus the hygenist Total cost was £131.00

You should always always make sure what you are going to pay for.

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Moken said on 30 August 2012

We had some treatment recently at our dentists and the above charges did not apply at all. We were given a breakdown as follows:-

Me = 14/08/12 £17.50 for Exam
Me = 22/8/12 £32.95 for S&P with Hygenist
Husband = 14/8/12 £48.00 for 2x fillings
Husband = 22/8/12 £32.95 for S&P with Hygenist
Total charge £131.40.

So were was the course of treatment which is supposed to include fillings and hygenists etc????. non existent.

Be careful always ask how much the whole treatment is going to cost, even though they have a poster.

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titch35 said on 12 July 2012

I've had root canal treatment and was told by my dentist to return in 3 months time to review if the procedure was succesful. Is this the correct procedure or an opportunity to class this as new treatment thus incurring additonal cost?

Having read the section on course of and further treatment i'm inclined to believe - in my experience- this may be an opportunity for increased cost.

Can anyone help with their experiences?


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xxbrunettechickxx said on 10 July 2012

In my opinion I disagree with the charges for being seen with the Dentist. The NHS should re think what their making all patients who are over 18 pay.

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Fish1302 said on 29 June 2012

I had an appointment today and before even seeing the dentist they charged me £17.50.

Whilst having my check up i needed and Xray as the last one was in 2009. Was told that my X-ray showed a shadow on one tooth which requires a filing.

However, after checking the forms at home i have realised they want to charge me another £48, is this correct???

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chris878 said on 28 June 2012

''If you get refered to another dentist''.

Am I missing something as to me this referal does not make sense at all . Can someone explain in plain english instead of double dutch.

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tulin4 said on 09 June 2012

Where is the big society? It is like a jungle aggressive prediators to survive oly!

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tulin4 said on 09 June 2012

patients are trapped in every way according to the dentists benefits. to suck money as much as they can. The low is made on benefits of people who makes more donations to the winning parties.

patients are not allow to go to the dental hospital, they have to be registered with a dental surgery and transferred by a dentist. (stupid!) to get tortured for money.!
dentists are circling patient between different surgeries to make them sign forms especially income support forms. they tells too many sickening lies afterwards to ask £100.00 each time.

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ToscaOscar said on 29 May 2012

My comments have been sent to the OFT and will be posted on a variety of mass-media - including to the press!

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ToscaOscar said on 29 May 2012

Facts on NHS Dental Costs as stated in recent documentation by OFT and CAB

Band 2 course of treatment – £48.00
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.

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Lizzy31 said on 29 May 2012

I am currently undergoing treatment with the dentist. As a very nervous patient it took a great deal for me to make the appointment and then to actually go ahead and have the treatment. With my fear of the dentist and the worry of the fianancial impact i had been saving as knew i needed some work done on my teeth. My first appointment relieved my nerves my dentist was just lovely, reassured me and talked me through treatment i would need. I have begun treatment which has included two tooth extractions, i queried with the dentist why he was charging me £120 per tooth when i had read about the bands, his reply was that i would have to go on a lengthy waiting list to recieve NHS and i would need to be referred elsewhere, as i had built up the courage i didn't want to delay therefore went ahead. I am now having gum treatment which is costing me £300 and need root canal on two front teeth which he has quoted me £250 per tooth. This is all before i have a porcelian crown. I had queried having the root canal on NHS and was told the procedure is not the same as what i would recieve private as the technology isn't as good. After hearing the news today i am feeling very concerned that i am being led astray and seriously overcharged for dental treatment and am deciding whether i should get a second opinion. I am totally confident in my dentists treatment however there is a huge difference fianancially. Can anyone offer me any advice??

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newteeth said on 18 May 2012

I have had some dentures made and they do not fit, as I cannot talk or eat with them in, however my dentist refuses to have another pair made for me. She mentioned the fact that I could pay for metal ones, which would fit me better, and I could probably talk with them in, but at a cost of over £450.00, as I am on Pension credit I cannot afford them, what do I do now, Please?

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speckly said on 10 May 2012

I went to my NHS dentist with a toothache and it turns out an old root canal has an infection. My options for treatment were given to me as to re-do the root canal or extract the tooth. I was told root canal couldn't be done in that surgery and that they would refer me to one of two places - both in different towns, and that the treatment will be about £800. I was not told that it was a private dentist they referred to, nor given any choice about having it done as an NHS treatment - I came away with the understanding that this was the only price option. Here I discover - seemingly - I could get it done for only £48. I am shocked and angry that (a) I very nearly accepted that I was going to be paying almost a grand for this treatment and (b) that I now have to trawl around to find another NHS dentist who can do it for me, instead of my own dentist doing it or at least referring me. Also, I don't understand why I am about to pay £100 for a filling with my own dentist when I believed that i am signed up with them as an NHS patient. What is going on and why is it all so complicated??

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User674761 said on 10 May 2012

I moved from a private dentist to an NHS dentist to have 1 filling replaced.The dentist was most professional and courteus an caring. However after the examination on the NHS £17-50 He then suggested that a better filling material could be used other than that provided by NHS. and it would only cost another £16-00 above the NHS charge of £48.00. so I agreed and the filling was carried out immediately and most professionally and carefull.
However in the NHS the 2nd course of treatment £48-00 also covers cost of Band 1 examination etc. Bot when I went to pay they said that the filling I had had was a separate charge (Private) so final bill was £82.50 and not the expected £48-00+the £16-00 £64-00 so I was slightly misled although a very good job was carried out

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polomint said on 27 April 2012


If you are 17 then the NHS treatment will be free for you.

So long as you're under 18, or 18 and in full time education NHS treatment will continue to be free for you.

(I work in a dental practice so I know :) )

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eric17 said on 27 April 2012

i dont understanddd! can sumeone please explain? do all these prices count for underage people aswell or not? or is this the price for everyone?? :( please let me know because im 17 and i need a denture but dont have thhat kind of money and neither does my mum, i though it would be free :( x

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Hinxy1960 said on 26 April 2012

There will always be debate on whether we should pay or not for NHS dentistry but for me the bigger issue is finding an NHS dentist...I live in York and phoned nearly everyone in the book to no avail. I have now managed to get one in Wetherby 45 minute round trip this is ok for me but for many would be impossible.
I am now sporting(thanks to a nasty abscess) a nice front smile and yes I paid £209 but think considering its not too bad , had a quote privately and this would have cost in excess of £800.
I feel that all people residing in this country should freely have access to NHS dentists, this is sadly not the case.

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geb1952 said on 15 April 2012

I am NHS dental Patient in Redditch but in my £17.50 when I asked re scale & polish Im told I have to see a hygienist @ £30+ a time & not available on my days off plus asked do you smoke I dont smoke but does that mean if I did I cant have a de scale or a polish anyway! this is not my 1 st dentist in redditch with same attitude to de scale & polish my husband asked same & told the same then gave the dentist a copy of what they could have for £16. the price at the time the Dentist then scaled & polished his teeth never again since, the last time my teeth were scaled & Polished must be several years ago & I go every 9mths to the Dentist

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Oklahoman said on 11 April 2012

I do not receive free dental care. I find the opening line of this article that 'Dentistry is one of very few NHS services you have to pay for' rather misleading.

I have to pay for prescriptions, I have to pay for eye tests, and corrective lenses. I have to pay for Wigs. I have to pay for medicines needed outside of NICE guidelines, for example NICE only allow men with erectile dysfunction 2 pills a month. If they want a more complete lifestyle they need to pay for a private prescription and medicine. Most counselling is eventually charged privately,

Nearly all medicines and treatments are restricted in the NHS. This website should be more honest about charges.

If you do ever go to hospital in England you should be made aware of the cost of parking !

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Blessed Kateri said on 10 April 2012

I thought NHS treatment was free at the point of delivery. This is not the case for Dental Health. Why is there no explanation for the reason for charging people for this health care. Is it less important ?

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flitflop said on 07 April 2012

I receive free dental treatment and have asked a number of times why I am not given a 'scale and polish' as states with the £17.50 charge. All sorts of excuses given, as with previous writer, go to hygenist etc., when I pointed the out to the last dentist I was told that NHS tell them to do as little as possible, and that she was not there to remove tea and coffee stains on the NHS!!

Should I as a pensioner expect the same treatment as given for the £17.50 charge?

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slavicgoddess said on 05 April 2012

As far as I know, they are not. I pay for NHS treatment and also need dentures. My dentist told me I had 2 options: acryllic which are considerably cheaper or if I wanted to pay private prices I could have the type of dentures you are asking about. If I remember what he said correctly he quoted a price of approx £350 each.

I would talk to your dentist. He/She will be able to tell you for certain.

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Page last reviewed: 04/08/2014

Next review due: 04/12/2016

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


Help with dental costs

Find out what you are entitled to and how to get help with NHS dental charges

NHS Low Income Scheme

If you are on a low income, you may be able to get help with NHS costs through the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS)

Wisdom teeth

A consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon explains why people have problems with their wisdom teeth, the treatments available and the important things to ask before treatment.

Media last reviewed: 05/02/2014

Next review due: 05/02/2016