NHS Mini-dental Implants

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Like most other dental treatments in the UK, mini-dental implants are largely provided through private dentistry where you will have to foot the bill. There are cases however where the NHS can step in and provide funding for the procedure, and in this article we look at the instances where implants can be provided on the NHS.

Mini-dental implants funded by the NHS

NHS guidelines outline circumstances in which the NHS can fund, if not the whole cost, then at least part of the costs of an implant procedure. Whether the funding provided covers mini-dental implants will vary from Trust to Trust and procedure to procedure.

The guiding principle behind NHS funding of implants is medical necessity. In many cases, while extremely useful, implants are not medically required for a person to maintain certain standards of living. This will naturally only apply to residents of the UK, and will require assessments and recommendations stating that there is a medical need for implant surgeries.

Within these guidelines outlining medical necessity three groups of patients are discussed. These include people with no teeth in either or both of their jaws, anyone who requires surgical replacement or reconstruction of tissues of the face and skull, or anyone who still has lost most of their teeth but still has a few in place.

If a person falls into one of these categories, there are a number of other factors that need to be considered before the go ahead is given. These largely revolve around the lifestyle choices that can affect the outcome of a dental implant procedure. These would include, for example, oral hygiene and health, general health, and smoking, all of which can have a profound impact on the likelihood of a successful surgery. The NHS has finite resources and takes an approach based on providing funding for people who will gain the most out of a treatment, which is why life expectancy and age are also considered as factors.

Cases where people can benefit from NHS funded implant procedures include young people suffering from cleft palate, or where a person under the age of 40 has lost all or a drastic number of their teeth.

While these guidelines provide a system through which NHS Trusts can determine who can receive funding for their implant treatments, there is a great deal of variety between different Trusts in terms of how these are interpreted and applies. One of the main variations is the type of implant procedure funded by the Trust involved, and this would determine whether mini-dental implants could be provided as opposed to fully sized ones.

The best thing to do if you are potentially eligible for NHS funding of mini-implant surgery is to get in touch with someone within the Trust or its funding authority (PCT – primary care trust) and find out what that particular Trust’s policies are. Your dentist may be able to shed some light on this situation as well, and advise on your chances of receiving funding.

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