3 February 2009

NHS dental charges in England

If you are lucky enough to be able to get an NHS dentist, there are 3 bands for NHS dental treatment.

Band 1
£16.20 – examination, check up, diagnosis of problem, scale and polish, x-rays, advice and discussion regarding further treatment.

Band 2
£44.60 – all treatment in Band 1 plus fillings, root canal treatment, extractions

Band 3
£198 – all treatment in Bands 1 and 2 plus more complicated procedures such as crowns, bridges and dentures

Check up and filling only?
You will only pay the Band 2 charges. You do not pay both Band 1 and Band 2 charges.

More than one visit to complete the treatment?
You only pay the charge applicable to the Band relevant to your treatment. You do not pay each time you have treatment.

Returning for treatment within 2 months? 
If the treatment is in the same Band (or lower Band) as before you will not be charged. For example if you have already been charged for a filling (Band 2) then need another filling a month later, you will not be charged.

Written treatment plan
If your treatment is in Bands 2 or 3 treatment you should get a treatment plan from your dentist detailing how much your treatment will cost.

Referral to another dentist?
You only pay one fee to the dentist who refers you. You do not pay both dentists unless the 2nd dentist is considered to be offering a specialist service such as sedation, home visit, or orthodontics.

There are no extra charges for removing stitches

Writing a Prescription
If you need a prescription there are no extra charges for this

Missed appointment
If you miss an appointment you cannot be charged, however if you continue to miss appointments your dentist might decide not to treat you any more .

Credit cards
A dentist is allowed to charge a handling charge for credit card payments

Cosmetic work
The NHS do not cover work that is considered simply cosmetic such as white fillings for back teeth and whitening.

Urgent Care Charges £16.20
The fee is £16.20 regardless of how many appointments it takes to complete the work. This fee is charged if you are not attending your normal dental clinic or you are not currently having a course of treatment. The fee covers an examination, x-rays, temporary fillings, refixing crowns and bridges, one permanent filling, adjustment of dentures, extraction of no more than 2 teeth, and simple repairs to dentures.

83 comments to NHS dental charges in England

  • Jane

    My NHS dentist has refused to scale and polish my teeth and says I need to book in with their hygienist at a cost of around £45. Being on an extremely low income, I have not been able to afford this. I now find that they are treating problems caused by build up of plaque but won’t treat the cause. As I have been seeing this dentist for about 7 years, I now have terrible receding gums, awful gum disease, moving teeth and am at risk of losing a few. I look after my teeth as well as I can but am fed up with going for treatments that I wouldn’t need if they just took the few minutes to scale and polish my teeth. They have also removed old fillings, replaced them, then replaced them again a year or so later. They must be making a lot of money from the NHS by treating the end result but not the cause. Are they allowed to insist I see their expensive hygienist for a scale and polish? If so, then why are they allowed to accept NHS patients, who, by their very nature are usually skint and can’t afford the extra charges?

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  • Marnie

    part of a large filling has come away ( upper left premolar). The original filling was amalgam which lasted about 5 years, when part of that came away my dentist ‘patched’ it up with glass ionmer which has again cracked. She recommends a crown. Could I not opt for a less drastic option and have an inlay/onlay?

  • Theresa

    Earlier this week I visited an NHS dentist for a broken tooth. I was told that the root canal treatment done by a previous NHS dentist was very poorly done and there is something showing on the xray possibly a scar or an infection. She said they could refer me to another dentist who would remove the dodgy root canal and do a better one before crowning it but it would be very expensive – she couldnt do it. As I am not in pain she said they can just crown my tooth for £198 so i have agreed to do this next week. I asked what would happen if it did hurt after it was crowned- she said they would then just remove it and leave a gap. What do i do? The NHS pricing states a root canal is covered by the £198 fee – i dont understand and it’s starting to ache!

  • admin


    “Something showing on the x-ray”, “root canal treatment … very poorly done”, “dodgy root canal”.

    So your dentist proposes to compound the problem and cover up dodgy root canal and possible infection. It is crazy to suggest this to you.

    It sounds like you will be throwing your £198 away. If you do go ahead with this silly idea you should make copious notes and write down absolutely everything she says to you in detail. Ask her specifically why she is not re-doing the botched root canal? Make sure she sees you writing her response down.

    You might as well prepare your complaint letter now.

  • kirsty

    I’ve had to have my front teeth removed due to the bone being eaten away by an infection. My dentist said it was the worst case of damaged bone he has seen. I had the teeth removed a week ago and I am now wearing a small denture. I asked my dentist about implants or a bridge he said he wouldn’t talk about any of them options until he has taken a look at my bone in a years time. I cant wait that long! This denture is driving me crazy I cant eat anything but soup!! I’m only in my 20s so going toothless is not a option I have been reading on the net about bone grafting as i don’t really know if I will be able to have a bridge would this give me a better chance at being able to have a bridge? Also how much would it cost for bone grafting and a bridge to replace my missing front teeth? Is this available on the nhs? I earn a low wage
    Many thanks

  • Gee

    @ Kirsty

    If you would allow me to give you an advice I would say that it is probably a lot better to listen to your dentist as he/she has a degree for which he/she spent a lot of years of studying. If though you don’t want to do that then it would be a good idea to take a second opinion.

  • Dr P

    Dear reader,

    I’m a dentist in nhs and I think it’s wrong to work for free. For example a patient comes in need for 4 fillings. It means the dentist has to work for free. Is this ethical? I mean how many people wants to work for free or even pay for the work thats been done?? I know there are a lot of patients out there who wants to use the system but please dont blame the dentist. The system doesnt work for the patient or the dentist. Come on, every normal person doesnt want to work for free. I think its unfair to blame the dentist that have spent 5 years for the education to work for free. Its like going to the computer shop and ask for 5 to 6 computer and pay for ONE!!!!
    Wake up this system is a fraud for everyone.

  • Hi had my full set of dentures over 40 years, wear them all my waking hours only slightly loose now but can’t stand that goo in my mouth so can’t get new ones

  • P. Patel

    A scale and polish doesnt help gum disease. The dentist would be wasting their time and fooling you by doing this. If you are not bothering to brush your teeth properly and if you do not stop smoking are you suprised you will get gum recession?

    If you value your teeth you will give up the fags, brush your teeth properly so that if you look at them in the mirror after they are not covered by gunk, stop eating junk and stop consuming sugary food and drinks every hour of the day.

    You are responsible for the condition of your teeth.

  • Kate

    Hi Jane,
    I had similar problems like yourself so I started to look for dentists abroad… I found out that many clinics abroad already have surgeries in London, their dentists are GDC registered and very friendly.

  • mat

    im seventeen with receding gums,i dont smoke,drink ect i floss,brush ect…im screwed because my moron of a dentist says theres no treatment for receding gums when there is! Im english, i want an english dentist that actually knows what hes talking about, not a polish dentist…the nurse had to ask “should i change the drill bit” yes! I could get hep C for christ sake…nhs dentists don’t deserve the job and if they dont want to work for “free” then they can go find another bloody job, one of them was shaking, cracked my sisters teeth and jaw then left her with an infection…morons on mass, wouldn’t trust them with a loaf of bread.

  • Alison

    My 17yr old daughter has just come bk from a well known dentist in watford. Her tooth at the bottom left next to the k9 has broken. She has been told it must come out by aneasthetic as It must be surgically removed. So what are you going to put in its place? She shrugged her shoulders at my daughter telling her an implant is expensive and thats if you are able to have one. Oh My Goodness. No wonder more people of suffering from dental phobias these days! lol. My daughter has ongoing tooth decay problems despite brushing and flossing through her years. Ive never been one for buying kids sweets that often. Only as a rare treat. So why are her teeth rotting away so quickly? The dentist has never given her proper advice, even when ive erged them to to advise? All they have said is… ‘You will be looking at False teeth around a tender age of 21!!!!” Knock her confidence why dont you. How dreadful. I even asked advice on private treatment but the dentist gave little info. Nothing about financing, treatment available for her or An accurate price. ect. All inconclussive rubbish info. I guess I’ll be going with her next wk with my note pad. I think the A Television complaint ought to investigate these crook dentist and let the rest of us know whats going on.

  • Danielle

    “A scale and polish doesnt help gum disease. The dentist would be wasting their time and fooling you by doing this. If you are not bothering to brush your teeth properly and if you do not stop smoking are you suprised you will get gum recession?”

    This is not true.
    You can brush your teeth five times a day, after ever meal, and you will still have tartar.
    Normally, plaque is removed fairly easily by brushing our teeth with a good toothpaste. However, what happens to those hard to reach spots that our brush cannot get to? In these places, the plaque continues to build up until it hardens into calculus or tartar. This is much, much harder to remove.
    No matter how much you brush, there will always be some plaque that you can’t reach and you need your dentist to remove. So if you are not visiting your dentist regularly, this plaque will build up and cause you much more significant problems in the future. These problems can include tooth decay, cavities and gum disease.

  • My Dental surgeon is Russian and works in a practice with her husband. They are emplyed by a registered NHS Dentist. On my examination six months ago I complained of a tooth wearing down and was told it was my lower tooth biting away. This last examination I was told I needed this and another tooth crowned.Next to one to be crowned I have a broken crown that could be taken out and added to my denture. I have paid 16.50 for an examination and have ben asked to pay 185 for the treatment. I have asked to see her before my treatment starts to discuss about taking this dorment crown out and adding to my denture. I have been told by the receptionist I will have to pay a review fee to see the dentist before the treatment I do not think this is right.The dentist may say I will have to have the old crown removed and added on to my denture at another visit and if it is within the six moths I am worried about having to pay another 185 please can you advise and are the payments right for what Im having done. If I have the tooth added to my denture and the tooth removed after six months do I still pay 16.50 for the examination and another 185 for the treatment

  • Hi have just been told 2 of my bottom teeth will have to be taken out,no one told me this as i have always went to the dentist, i was very upset i have 1 tooth which the gum has recieded i go for check ups every year i look after my teeth it is going to cost me £204 plus extra if i want bridge work i am with an NHS dentist can i have a 2nd opinion?

  • Chris

    To Fions

    The loss of a tooth can be very upsetting. Gum recession usually occurs through the process of periodontal disease (advanced gum disease) and like high blood pressure it is not something you may notice. Peridontal disease is a process whereby germs get into pockets in the gum and they become inflammed. This inflammation then ‘eats’ away at the bone.The process is usually very slow and takes many years. However in certain patients (immunocompromised, smokers, diabetics etc) the process can accelerate. Your NHS dentist should explain to you all treatment options and provide you with an NHS option.
    The first thing I advise you to do is try to prevent the problem getting worse by:
    If you are a smoker stop smoking
    Ask your dentist about brushing and flossing technique and do these regularly.
    Use a daily mouthwash.
    You may need further gum treatment- this can be expensive but are you aware dental hospitals provide treatment free of charge?
    204 pounds sounds about right but do shop around.Make sure you gum problem has improved before accepting a bridge.
    I hope this helps.

  • Mike Foster

    After years and years of not smiling at people because I was born with calcium deficiency in my teeth. This means my teeth are yellowish in colour and I am so self conscious about them it’s totally effecting my life in a big way, I was recently made redundent and I have had numerous interviews with no success, I never smile or laugh at the interviews which I know it’s why i’m not getting the jobs I go for. I have one warn tooth at the front and one that is set inwards and the top ache a lot as well. What I need to know is, can I get the top teeth pulled and have a denture fitted on the nhs, I’m on job seekers allowance at the moment so cant afford much, can I get a discount or get them for free this way on the nhs. I feel life is pointless with this problem and would really love to smile at people some day. HELP……….

  • Sarah Armstrong

    I cannot find anywhere which tells me how many teeth you can have treated under a single NHS band payment. If I have 3 teeth which need a crown at the same time, do I pay £204 for all three, or do I need to pay individually totalling £612!. All websites only seem to tell me that even if I need to visit the dentist more than once for the same treatment I will just pay the set fee, but nowhere does it answer how many teeth you can have done at once. Please could someone let me know…..

  • admin

    You do not pay per tooth. If you visit your dentist and at that time he decides you need 3 crowns then you will get all 3 crowns for £204. So all the work that needs attention should get dealt with under the same “session” charge.

    If the work takes more than one visit to complete the treatment (which it will do) then you only pay the charge applicable (in your case £204) to the Band relevant to your treatment (in your case Band 3). You do not pay each time you have treatment.

  • parkinson patricia

    In February on the NHS I had 1 bottom back tooth and supporting bridge removed. Despite the fact that the extraction healed imeediately I was left with a gap which has resulted in the 2 upper front teeth which support a denture becoming very loose. It is only now June, that my dentist has installed the new denture – is that correct?

  • kim

    Hello, i just wanted to know if any one could help me. My partner has moved to the uk from holland and they need to register with a dentist, does anyone know if you have to be in the country for a surtain amount of time befor you can register like you do with a doctors? She has broken her tooth and may need emergency dentist to, i dont know much about it when u have just moved here, as she is studying at uni here to it automaticly enrolls her in the NHS i have been told so thats good. I just wanted to know also if dentists accept credit cards, not sure if they do ?! I would really appreciate any help about this.
    Thank you

  • Chrissy

    In my opinion, i believe that dentists do somehow cause unnecessary work when need not be for their patients, so they can make money. It’s called greed.

  • Joe

    Hi, a temporary filling cracked and came off meaning i had to go to get it fixed. I went in and was fitted with a new permanent filling, the dentist said that the tooth was decayed to the root and was bordering on needing root canal treatment. Upon leaving the dentist said that if i wish to keep the tooth then he recommends getting a coating on my tooth, so as i was leaving i booked another appointment to get this work done.

    I’ve searched quite a bit through the NHS band charges and was just wondering if anyone knows what this thing is going to cost (i.e. what band this treatment is in) and what the actual name for the treatment is – since Google searches returned very little (Only thing i came across was a fluoride coating which could possibly be it but would just like confirmation)


  • Mary

    I been to see dentist about an root canal treatment over a large top bridge which I do not want to lose, my dentist say that that they bridge will be have to be removed to do this the root canal treatment, is they anyway that the root canal treatment be done without the bridge left in place.



  • I have had 2 sets of denters made over a number of years but find each time I chew on them all the time they seem to aggrivate my mouth I am a 73 year old women an got receeding gums, I wonder if you can suggest anything that can make them more comfortable if I have another denture made .I must point out I have not worn dentures for quite a while

  • S Mike

    I visited a dentist and advised me to have a root canal or an implant. I asked for a filling instead and was told that I would need a big filling which might fall off. Well I had the filling and it fell after a week and had already paid 47 pounds! I went back to the dentist and he said to have a crown. I did ask for a root canal first and he said it was not necessary. I did not want to argue and accepted the procedure, and paid another 204 pounds because he said it was my decision to have a filling even tough I was told the filling might fall off. I did not want to argue to point.
    After the crown was completed I went back about three times to the dentist to have it checked, however every time the dentist kept saying we just need to file it down. Finally I told him that it was always hurting so he decided to have a root canal done but he had to drill through the new crown that I just paid 204 pound for it.

    The temporary filling came off and I could feel a hole in my tooth and could not even bite on it so I went back to see him, to have the temporary refilled until my due appointment for completing the root canal, and he refused to do it, I had to basically really ask for it.

    I was then told that I should not have used it when chewing until the treatment is completed. I only chewed on a banana and a slice of bread and still his temporary filling started chipping off.

    I was then told that I did not read an informative letter on procedures for new installed crowns. The letter clearly states that prior to installing a crown, a root canal has to be completed. plus at the bottom of the letter it has a patient signature something I never signed for.

    This dentist is not the owner of this dental surgery, shall I approach the owner of the surgery who is a dentist himself or shall I let this dentist complete the work. Shall I ask for a new crown altogether since it is his mistake for not complying withe their dental procedure

    Can someone help with this question

  • Chris

    I used to be on Denplan, then got suspicious that the clinic I was going to kept finding so many things that needed attention. The final straw was when my regular dentist left and the new (Polish) one suddenly found I “needed” four fillings and a crown! Even with Denplan’s subsidised rates, it was still over £600. I didn’t believe any of it and didn’t return.

    That was over 3 years ago. It put me off going to the dentist at all, but I finally decided this year to register with the first NHS dentist I could. I went along with trepidation, wondering what they would find after such a gap between visits, but surprisingly (despite the apparent need of four fillings and a crown in 2008) my teeth had repaired themselves to the point I just needed two old fillings replaced at a cost of £30!

    This comes with a word of warning – three weeks on and I’ve developed jaw ache on the same side, which gets particularly painful in the Evening. It’s possibly due to the fillings (one of which was quite deep, close to the root and is now very temperature sensitive) but more likely to be wisdom teeth, I feel. So I called this morning to get an emergency appointment… but there’s none available for two weeks and was told to call NHS direct if it’s that bad. I wonder if the response would be different if I’d been paying private fees…

  • hannah barton

    I went to the nhs dentist today coz id been haveing tooth pain.wel the man said that the tooth was so bad it needed removin well wen he said that i was nearly cryin i ask him if i could have a bridge in its place and if they do them on the nhs but he said no so iv looked on the internet nd they r sayin yes dus any1 no for sure if you can plz thanks

  • diane

    i wonder if someone could answer my question, my husband has been told by his dentist he needs a crown doing and also a bridge can anyone please tell me how much he will have to pay for this work will it all be done for £204 under the band 3 or will he have to pay £204 for each individual item he has done. please send me a reply as im so confussed to all this

  • admin

    If the work is carried out at the same time (i.e. it’s the same course of treatment) then it will be one payment of £204 for all the band 3 work.

  • Doug

    Hi there

    I have just had a checkup at the cost of £17 but have to go back in a month to have a filling. In a months time when I have my filling, should I pay an extra £47 or do I just pay £30 to make up the cost of bracket 2 (as it’s within 2 months)?

    Thank for any help.

  • Sheila

    I am struggling to understand why my dentist has charged me £17 for a consultation but will charge me another £47 if I decide to go back and have a filling replaced. The way I understand the charges, it should only be another £30 ie. the band 2 charge in total. To explain further, I had a root canal done just over 2 months ago and the tooth still feels rather uncomfortable although not really painful. I went back to the dentist today and he took an x ray and says he thinks it is because some of the filling material is touching the gum where there is a hole in the tooth. He said there were 3 options – 1. put up with it, 2. he could try replacing the filling and try not to let it touch the gum so much, or 3. ultimately have the tooth extracted. I agreed with him I would go away and think about it and paid £17 for the visit but when i asked about the charges and whether there was a time limit to go back under the same treatment plan, I was told if I go back it would be a new course of treatment and would be £47, not £30 as i would have thought. They couldn’t give me a satisfactory explanation of why this is the case.

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