If you normally pay for NHS dental treatment, the amount you spend will depend on what treatment you need.
Some people don't have to pay for NHS dental treatment – see Who is entitled to free NHS dental treatment in England?
NHS dental charges
There are three NHS charge bands.
Band 1: £21.60 covers an examination, diagnosis and advice. If necessary, it also includes X-rays, a scale and polish, and planning for further treatment.
Band 2: £59.10 covers all treatment included in Band 1, plus additional treatment, such as fillings, root canal treatment and removing teeth (extractions).
Band 3: £256.50 covers all treatment included in Bands 1 and 2, plus more complex procedures, such as crowns, dentures and bridges.
For more information, see What is included in each NHS dental band charge?
What if I need more treatment?
If, within two calendar months of completing a course of treatment, you need more treatment from the same or lower charge band – such as another filling – you don't have to pay anything extra.
If the additional treatment needed is in a higher band, you will have to pay for the new NHS course of treatment.
However, once two months have passed after completing a course of treatment, you'll have to pay the NHS charge band (listed above) for any NHS dental treatment received.
Certain treatments (including lost items) are guaranteed for 12 months from the date they were completed. These are:
- root fillings
- porcelain veneers
Treatments provided under this guarantee must be similar or related to the original treatment, but they don't have to be like for like.
Emergency or urgent treatment
If you require urgent care, you will pay a Band 1 charge of £21.60.
Most urgent treatments can be done in one appointment.
Once your urgent course of treatment is complete, you may be advised to make another appointment for a separate course of non-urgent treatment. In this case, the relevant NHS banding charge will apply.
When you don't have to pay
There is no dental charge:
- for denture repairs
- to have stitches removed
- if your dentist has to stop blood loss
- if your dentist only has to write out a prescription – however, if you pay for prescriptions, you'll have to pay the usual prescription charge of £8.80 when you collect your medicine(s)
Referral to another dentist
If you're referred to another dentist to complete your treatment, the amount you pay is dependent on the type of referral and whether the NHS treatment is carried out as one course of treatment. Your dentist will inform you how much you have to pay.
If you're referred to a private dentist (and you accept this option), you will:
- pay the appropriate NHS banding charge to the dentist who referred you
- also pay a fee for the dental work carried out by the private dentist you are referred to