Can I see an NHS dentist?

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The NHS dental service has undertaken many reforms since 2006 with the aim of providing patients better access to the dental services which the NHS provides. It has also served to remove the complication of charging by standardising fees into three bands. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, the number of dentists undertaking work for the NHS has declined, leaving many stuck without dental care.

There are currently three standardised fee bands for all charges associated with treatments provided by the NHS dental service. This refining of the charging process is intended to make it simpler for patients to understand how much they are required to pay. It also serves to make sure that patients understand the charges they are receiving are for NHS care (as opposed to private care). For a complex course of treatment the NHS dental service now charges a maximum of £198. For check ups to moderately complex treatments the other two price bands are £16.50 and £45.00 respectively. Although in a number of cases, patients will meet the criteria to qualify for completely free NHS dental care. This includes patients who are:

  • Below the age of 18
  • 18 years old but enrolled in full time education
  • Expecting mothers or those who have had a baby in the 12 months prior to treatment
  • Those receiving income support and income support based Jobseekers allowance
  • Those who are named on a valid HC2 certificate

Other structural changes to the NHS mean that your local Primary Care Trust (PCT) is in charge of local dental services for the NHS. In order to give patients improved access to local services the PCT is also in charge of emergency or out of hours care in your locality. All these changes have been made to try and improve the level of dental care provided by the NHS to patients at a local level.

You can find an NHS dentist by either phoning NHS Direct or visit the NHS website which will direct you to a local dentist. In some cases, a clinic may not accept any further NHS patients so you may be placed on to a waiting list. Us the link below to find your local NHS and private dentists.

Read more in the Dental Treatment Information Guide »