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Why has my NHS dentist charged me for private treatment?

You should only be charged for private dental treatment if you agreed to have private dental work done.

When you visit a dentist they will begin by examining your mouth and teeth. If they think you need treatment they should give you a written personal dental treatment plan.

Treatment plans are not usually given for Band 1 or urgent dental treatment, but you can ask for one.

Most dentists offer both NHS and private treatment. Your NHS dentist should always:

  • explain which treatments are available on the NHS
  • explain which treatments are only available privately
  • make sure you know how much your NHS treatment and any private treatment will cost

Treatment plan

Before carrying out any dental treatment, your dentist should ask you to sign your personal dental treatment plan.

This confirms the NHS dental treatment your dentist is going to do, and the amount you will need to pay for the treatment on the NHS. If you have talked to your dentist about having private dental treatment, details and costs for this will be listed separately on the same form.

If you’re not offered a treatment plan for band 2 or 3 treatments, ask your dentist for one.

Find out what's included in each NHS dental band charge

NHS dental treatment

The NHS will provide all treatment that your dentist feels is clinically necessary to keep your teeth, gums and mouth healthy.

This means that if your dentist says that you "need" a particular type of treatment, it will be available on the NHS. You should not be asked to pay for it privately.

Find out what dental services are available on the NHS

Choosing private treatment

NHS dental treatment does not cover any cosmetic treatments that are only to improve your appearance, such as teeth whitening, and are not clinically necessary.

But you may choose to have this dental work done privately. In this case, you'll be charged privately. Your NHS dentist should make sure you know how much this will cost before treatment starts.

What if I've been charged wrongly?

If you think your dental charges are wrong, you should first talk to your dentist or the person at your dental surgery responsible for patient feedback.

If you have paid for NHS treatment but you think you have paid too much, you should discuss this with your dentist. They'll know what work was done and whether it was NHS treatment or a mix of NHS and private treatment.

Your dentist can arrange a refund if you need one.

Making a complaint

If you're not happy with the response from your NHS dentist about the charges, see How do I complain about my dental treatment?

Page last reviewed: 7 November 2023
Next review due: 7 November 2026