Having some tooth problems is bad enough, and not knowing how much certain charges are just making things worse.
Even though in the UK everyone is entitled to medical care thanks to the NHS, dental procedures carry some investment requirement for most people.
In this post, we will clarify some of the differences of NHS dental bands across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Then we will summarise the NHS cost of the 11 most commonly requested dental treatments.
Let’s dive right in.
NHS dental charges band 1: £22.70
These are the most basic exercises that are carried out by your dentists.
They typically revolve around visual check-ups, diagnostics, recommendations for treatment options, a simple polish and planning for your next visit.
On occasion, basic X-ray imagery is also included in this category.
NHS dental charges band 2: £62.10
On top of everything listed in Band 1, this area covers fillings, root canal treatments and tooth extractions.
NHS dental charges band 3: £269.30
The highest category includes all treatment options from Band 1 and Band 2, as well as more complex surgeries, dental crown implementation, dentures and dental bridge procedures.
In Wales, these bands are somewhat cheaper:
NHS Dental treatment costs in Scotland and Northern Ireland
Those patients who are not eligible for free treatment and opt-in for NHS procedures, pay 80% of the charges, up to £384.
It is worth keeping the appointment and attending the procedure as dentists can ask for payment in advance and they also have the right to charge their patients who are no-show.
Now we have the bands covered off, let’s examine the costs of 11 different NHS dental treatments:
NHS Hygienist cost
If your teeth are generally in order and there are no burning issues, your dentist will probably proceed to give you a quick teeth polish.
This is not the same as a thorough tartar removal, but it does a good job at low-level cleaning.
These are very easy and straightforward moves and thus belong to Band 1, costing £22.70.
NHS Tooth extraction cost
For various reasons, mainly because excessive tooth decay or damage, patients need to have some teeth pulled.
The cost of a tooth extraction procedure done by the NHS falls into Band 2 and thus in England, you can expect a charge of £62.10
NHS Filling price
One of the most frequently done treatments in the country is tooth filling.
There are also white fillings available in the NHS arsenal.
It's routine management of the situation that belongs to Band 2.
This means the price of this NHS treatment is £62.10
NHS Root canal price
When those pesky bacteria managed to punch their way through your tooth’s enamel they continue to do further damage.
They will cause infections at the root level of the tooth and if this is left unchecked, it will not only cause excruciating pain but can lead to life-threatening jawbone inflammation in a form of sepsis.
Fortunately, root canal treatments are also routine treatments done by NHS dentists and they fall into the 2nd Band which means a cost of £62.10 in England.
Periodontal treatment NHS cost
Once gingivitis is "upgraded" to full-blown periodontitis, the disease is irreversible but can still be managed with appropriate measures.
You can have an NHS dentist cater for your gums to the best of his/her abilities and expertise.
This is classed as a Band 2 treatment and thus it costs you: £62.10
NHS Denture cost
Although it has become much better over the years, loss of teeth in adults can still be written down to periodontal disease.
In other words, when patients don’t look after their gums, their teeth will eventually fall out and they will need dentures.
The development and “installation” of dentures on the NHS is a Band 3 treatment leaving you with a contribution of £269.30 in England.
NHS Bridge cost
When a tooth gets too damaged and has to be removed it often creates a gap.
This may not only affect your ability to chew properly but can also lead to teeth alignment issues and it doesn’t look good either.
Simply speaking, when a false tooth can be inserted and fixed into the gap, the dentist creates a “bridge” of sorts.
Restoring one or several teeth with this technique is not always straightforward and it is a Band 3 operation.
NHS bridge treatments will cost the patient £269.30 in England.
Cost of a crown on NHS
In some cases, mostly after root canal treatments, there isn’t enough left from the original tooth to withstand the stress of chewing for one.
It’s left too exposed and there’s not enough enamel to protect itself from harmful bacteria.
This is when crowns, caps are put on the “tooth remains” as a form of armour if you like.
It’s not easy to have a crown implemented and there’s a variety of crown materials that affect the treatment as well.
This is why this is a Band 3 treatment, so be prepared to pay £269.30 for this at your NHS dentist if you have this done in England.
NHS wisdom teeth removal cost
If your wisdom teeth are fully erupted and causing no issues then your dentist may actually recommend not to do anything (other than maintaining good oral hygiene (internal link) of course).
In case of a problem or when your wisdom tooth is impacted, meaning it didn’t erupt into your mouth, then this would be an operation requiring quite a bit of effort.
Such treatments will likely be classified as Band 3, leaving you with a personal contribution of £269.30.
Broken Tooth NHS
Depending on the specifics of the situation and how damaged the broken tooth is, fixing this problem will likely require a crown.
All dental cap applications are Band 3 routines and thus the cost is £269.30
Tooth implant cost NHS
A tooth implant is a medical device when the dentist plants a “screw`’ into the patient’s jawbone. This will create a stable foundation of a crown which makes the false tooth lifelike and reliable.
This is one of the more complex operations and is typically NOT covered by the NHS.
You should consult with a private dentist clinic if you’re looking for a tooth implant.
With the end of the most frequently executed UDAs (units of dental activity) we need to mention and think about parts of UK society who probably need support for full dental healthcare are:
NHS dental charges for students
If you are under 18 years of age, you are entitled to free NHS dental care.
NHS dental charges for pensioners
Considering that the elderly are more at risk for any health-related issues, it is only fair that some of them may qualify for free dental treatment by the NHS.
If a patient applies to the NHS Low Income Scheme he/she may be awarded two types of certificates:
These certificates need to be renewed from period to period and it is worth keeping in mind that if a claim is made without a valid HC2 or HC3 certificate, a penalty payment of £100 could be charged.
Considering that most NHS dentists are already under a considerable amount of pressure to deliver as many UDAs (Units of Dental Activity) as possible.
If you can try to seek help from private dentists.
Granted, they cost more but they are better equipped to service you from a cosmetic dentistry point of view for instance.
Cosmetic dentistry includes procedures like teeth whitening where there is no clinical need to do something, but the results are visually more appealing.
If you live in Lancashire, check out our dental services in Preston.
Alternatively, let us know how your experiences regarding NHS dental charges in the comments below!