NHS dental charges: What you can expect to pay

Lorraine Heller

Lorraine HellerThere are a few things I really don’t like doing, and in each instance I’ve managed to build a convincing case that lets me get away with not doing them. Top of this list is going to the dentist, and part of my reason for not going has been the prospect of NHS dental charges.

I hadn’t been to the dentist for so long that I’d completely forgotten how much it costs – I had some vague notion that NHS dental charges were horribly expensive, based on a hazy memory of some lengthy treatment I had over 15 years ago.

Going to the dentist is one of the few NHS services that you actually have to pay for, so it’s easy for this to become a scary unknown beast that you want to avoid at all costs.

Well, I managed quite well for a long, long time, but last month I started getting a horrible sharp tooth pain that pushed me to pull aside the drapes and find out exactly what my purse would be facing.

As it turns out, it wasn’t that scary after all. Here’s the deal when it comes to dental costs:

NHS dental charges 2012

NHS dental charges have actually changed this year, and have gone up slightly. There are currently three bands of costs, which cover different dental treatments, as follows:

Band 1 – £17.50

This covers a regular examination, including x-rays if necessary. Also covered is a scale and polish if you need it, as well as a fluoride varnish or fissure sealant. Importantly, you’ll only ever need to pay one Band 1 charge for urgent treatment, even if your care needs more than one appointment to complete.

Band 2 – £48

You’ll pay this level if you need further treatment such as fillings, root canal work or (eek) teeth extractions. This dental charge also includes all the treatments in Band 1, so you shouldn’t have to pay two separate costs.

Band 3 – £209

Of all the NHS dental charges, this is the really scary one. You’ll need to fork this out if you’re getting crowns, dentures or bridges. The good news is that this also covers everything in bands 1 and 2, so again you won’t double up on charges.

Free dental care for pregnant women

Here’s the best part. Pregnant women or women who’ve had a baby in the last 12 months get free NHS dental treatment. All you need to do is ask your doctor, nurse, midwife or health visitor for the FW8 form so you candentist apply for your maternity exemption certificate (MatEx).

So, assuming you’re pregnant, have a baby under the age of one, or don’t need anything beyond a general dental check-up, you don’t need to be scared of huge NHS dental charges.

My trip to the dentist last week was a breeze… I came away with nothing worse than a recommendation for toothpaste for sensitive teeth. That’s me sorted for the next 10 years then.

You can get lots more detailed information on NHS dental charges on the NHS site.