A guide to dental charges (1st April 2020 – 2021) and who can get free treatment or a reduction in the cost of NHS dental treatment
Dentistry is one of the few NHS services where you have to pay a contribution towards the cost of your care. The information on this page explains what you may have to pay for your NHS dental treatment.
There are 3 bands of charges for all NHS dental treatments.
Band 1 dental treatment: £22.70
This covers 1 or more treatments (as many as are necessary) from the following list :
- adjusting false teeth (dentures) or orthodontic appliances, such as braces
- applying sealants or fluoride preparations to the surfaces of your teeth
- a clinical examination, assessment and report
- marginal correction of fillings
- moulds of your teeth – for example, to see how your teeth bite together
- an orthodontic assessment and report
- a scale and polish (if clinically necessary)
- coloured photographs
- taking a sample of cells or tissue from your mouth for examination
- treating sensitive cementum (the tissue that covers the root of a tooth)
Emergency treatment (when you need to see a dentist immediately) also costs £22.70.
Band 2 dental treatment: £62.10
This can cover anything listed in band 1 above, plus any of the following:
- an addition to your dentures – such as adding a clasp or a tooth
- apicectomy – removing the tip of the root of a tooth
- a mouth guard to correct your “bite” (doesn’t include a laboratory-made appliance)
- free gingival grafts – when healthy tissue from the roof of your mouth is attached to your teeth where the root is exposed
- frenectomy, frenoplasty or frenotomy – surgery to the folds of tissue that connect your tongue, lips and cheeks to your jaw bone
- treatment for severe gum disease – such as root planing (cleaning bacteria from the roots of your teeth), deep scaling and a polish, or a gingivectomy (removal of gum tissue)
- oral surgery – such as removing a cyst, or soft tissue surgery to the mouth or lips
- pulpotomy – removing dental pulp (the soft tissue at the centre of a tooth)
- relining and rebasing dentures
- removing teeth (extraction)
- root canal treatment
- sealant to fill small holes or grooves in your teeth
- splinting loose teeth – for example, after an accident (this does not include laboratory-made splints)
- transplanting teeth
Band 3 dental treatment: £269.30
This can cover anything listed in bands 1 and 2 above, plus any of the following :
- bridges – a fixed replacement for a missing tooth or teeth
- crowns – a type of cap that completely covers your real tooth
- inlays, pinlays and onlays – used to restore damaged teeth
- orthodontic treatment and appliances such as braces
- other custom-made appliances, not including sports guards
- veneers and palatal veneers – new surfaces for the front or back of a tooth
Treatments such as veneers and braces are only available on the NHS if there’s a clinical need for them (not for cosmetic reasons).
Similarly, other cosmetic treatments, such as teeth whitening, are not available on the NHS.
Who can get free dental care:
You can get free NHS dental treatment if you are:
- under 18
- 18 and in full-time education
- pregnant, or have had a baby in the 12 months before treatment starts
- an NHS inpatient and the treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist, or
- an NHS Hospital Dental Service outpatient. There may be a charge for dentures and bridges
You are also entitled to free NHS dental treatment if you or your partner (including civil partners), receive either:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit; or
- you are named on, or entitled to (use your award notice as evidence), an NHS tax credit exemption certificate, or
- you are named on a valid HC2 certificate (full help with health costs) certificate.
Find out more about the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS).
If you are named on a valid HC3 certificate (partial help), you might get some help towards the cost of your NHS dental treatment. The certificate tells you how much you will have to pay.
How do I get an HC2 or HC3 certificate:
If you have a low income the NHS Low Income Scheme may help you. To apply for an HC2 certificate, you should complete form HC1 available from Jobcentre Plus offices or most NHS hospitals. Your doctor, dentist or optician may have one too. You can also get an HC1 by calling 0300 123 0849 .
You will qualify for a full help HC2 certificate (which includes free NHS prescriptions), if your income is less than or equal to your requirements, or your income is greater than your requirements by no more than half the current English prescription charge.
You will qualify for a limited help HC3 certificate if your income is greater than your requirements by more than half the current English prescription charge. The HC3 certificate shows how much you have to pay towards your health costs.
Certificates are usually valid for periods of between 6 months to 5 years, depending on your circumstances.
Exemption for pregnant women
Pregnant women and those who have had a baby in the last 12 months get free NHS dental treatment if:
- you are accepted for a course of treatment,
- you are pregnant, or
- have had a baby in the previous 12 months.
To apply for your maternity exemption certificate ask your doctor, nurse, midwife or health visitor for form FW8. You are required to complete parts 1 and 2 of the form and your doctor, midwife or health visitor is asked to sign to confirm the information given by you is correct.
Your MatEx will last until 12 months after the expected date of birth. If your baby is born early, you can continue to use your exemption certificate until it expires. If your baby is born late, you can apply for an extension. If you apply after your baby is born, your exemption certificate will run for 12 months from your baby’s birth.
For more information on how to apply for a MatEx visit the NHS Business Services Authority website.
How to claim for help with NHS dental charges:
Tell the dentist you want NHS treatment when you make the appointment and sign the form you are given when you go for treatment. If you do not have to pay, put a cross in the appropriate box.
If you have a valid HC2 certificate or tax credit exemption certificate, write in the certificate number.
If you have a valid HC3 certificate, write in the certificate number and the maximum your certificate says you can pay. You will pay either what appears on the certificate or the actual charge, whichever is the least.
You will be asked to show proof of your entitlement to help with dental costs. If you are not sure you are entitled to help, then you must pay. You can claim a refund, but make sure you keep all receipts.
Claiming a refund:
Ask your dentist for NHS receipt form FP64 or a receipt that shows the amount of the NHS charge and the date you paid. If you are claiming on the grounds of low income, complete form HC5 – dental charges (PDF)
You may also be able to get an HC5 from from your dentist, a Jobcentre Plus office or NHS hospital, or order one by phoning the NHS forms order line on 0300 123 0849.