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.
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
- 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