I’ve had poor treatment from my dentist, what can I do?

Everyone is entitled to good dental treatment. If you've had a poor experience from either an NHS or private dentist, our guide can help you seek resolution.

I need remedial dental work

Most of us dread going to the dentist, so if a treatment you've had isn't quite right, it's at least some consolation to know that you've got the right to have repair work done. 

If you need repair or replacement work from an NHS dentist, this will generally be free within a year of the original work being carried out.

If your NHS treatment has been to the detriment of your physical wellbeing, you also have a right to compensation from the NHS. 

Unhappy with private dental care

If you're not happy with private treatment, the best option is to check the terms and conditions of your contract to find out your rights. 

If you need to, you should make a complaint to your dental practice, escalating the issue if necessary through the practice's complaints process.

Should your private dentist be unwilling to carry out remedial work, or if you've lost confidence in them, you may wish to make a personal injury claim.  

If you've lost confidence in your dentist, you may need to provide evidence to show why.

Summary

Everyone is entitled to all the dental treatment they clinically need from the NHS. You should not be pushed into receiving private treatment. 

If you've had poor treatment from a private or NHS dentist, suspect you've been mischarged or have been pushed into paying for private treatment, you can make a complaint.

Am I being charged correctly?

In England, the NHS has three bands of dental charge. These costs apply from 1 April 2016.

  • Band one - £19.70
  • Band two - £53.90
  • Band three - £233.70

Depending on what you need to have done, you should only ever be asked to pay one charge for each complete course of treatment, even if you need to visit your dentist more than once to finish it. You should not be charged for individual items within the course of treatment.

Any cost outside of these should ring alarm bells. Your NHS dentist should offer you all the work that's clinically necessary for you to maintain a healthy mouth at NHS prices, including hygienist work, if necessary.

If you suspect that either an NHS or private dentist is not providing clear fees, you can complain to the dental practice or take the complaint further by referring the issue to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Both private and NHS dentists should provide an itemised treatment plan before starting treatment, detailing all the costs for your dental work.

Pressure to buy private dental care

If you feel pressured to choose private dental treatment, or an expensive dental plan, alarm bells should ring. 

If possible, refuse and look for a different dentist. You may wish to report the dentist to both the practice manager, and the General Dental Council.

My dental policy has changed

If your private dentist has withdrawn treatment originally covered in your dental policy, check the terms and conditions. 

If it doesn’t state how much notice they have to give you before withdrawing a service, then it's unfair to withdraw a service without warning.

You have a right to hold the dental practice to the original contract, and then leave the practice upon the conclusion of the contract. 

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