Private and NHS dental charges
By Anna Studman
Private and NHS dental charges
NHS dental charges are set to rise by 5% in April 2019. Find out how much different treatments cost and how NHS charges compare to private dentist fees.
NHS dental charges in England rose by 5% in April 2018, and are set to do so again in April 2019. Increases have been implemented each year in April for the past four years.
NHS dental charge price rises from April 2019
- Band 1 treatment (check up) - will increase from £21.60 to £22.70 (+£1.10)
- Band 2 treatment (fillings / extractions) - will increase from £59.10 to £62.10 (+£3)
- Band 3 treatment (crown / false teeth) - will increase from £256.50 to £269.30 (+£12.80)
The Department of Health and Social Care says the price rises are part of an effort to find a balance between NHS treatments that are paid for by patients, and those funded by NHS taxpayer contributions.
It emphasised that those who qualify for free dental care are unaffected, and there is help available for those on low incomes through the NHS Low Income Scheme.
Current NHS dental charges vs private dentist fees
You can find out more about the current NHS charges, and what they mean for common treatments, in the table below. We've also collected prices for equivalent private treatments for you to compare them to.
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have different NHS charges - see below the table for more information on charges for these countries.
Use this table to decide if you're getting a decent dental deal, or paying over the odds. We've also included tips on what to expect and questions to ask, so you don't get any surprises.
|NHS and private dental pricing guide|
|Dental treatment||Also known as||NHS price||Private price||Advice|
New patient consultation/assessment
|Band 1 - £21.60||£20 - £120||Ask how long your private consultation will last, and whether any x-rays are included with it (including the type) as it varies between practices. Subsequent routine appointments are usually cheaper, but do ask for ongoing prices so you know what you're paying in the long term.|
|Radiographs||Band 1 - £21.60||£5 - £40||As a new patient, you will usually have simple x-rays of the back teeth (called bite-wings). But you may need more complex specialist x-rays to get a view of the whole mouth from ear to ear; the latter may well be more expensive if done privately.|
|Scale and polish||
Band 1 - £21.60/
Band 2 - £59.10
|£25 - £85||Check if it’s with a dentist or hygienist, how long for (private hygienist appointments generally last 20-45 minutes), what’s included and the treatment plan.|
|Metal filling||Band 2 - £59.10||£30 - £175||The cavity in your tooth is drilled so it can be filled with a mixture of metals. Private prices for all types of filling depend on the size and complexity of the treatment you need, for example how many tooth surfaces it covers. Amalgam is hard-wearing and good for the back chewing teeth.|
|White filling||Band 2 - £59.10||£40 - £250||Composite fillings are trickier to do (the tooth surface must be dry as the resin gel is bonded on) and can be less hard-wearing for back teeth that chew and grind. More expensive private ones are lab-made for you. On the NHS, you’re more likely to get them on front teeth, but your dentist decides what you need.|
Root canal treatment
|Root filling||Band 2 - £59.10||£45 - £970||If decay gets deep into your tooth and affects the root, a root filling (known as root-canal work) can save the tooth. It’s a technically demanding treatment and you may be referred to a specialist endodontist. Private prices range a lot. What you pay depends on the tooth size and position (back teeth tend to be more expensive) and complexity.|
|Tooth removal||Band 2 - £59.10||£50 - £370||Some teeth will be routinely extracted in the dentist’s surgery – known as a simple extraction. Others will need referral to a dentist with advanced skills in surgical treatments because they’re awkwardly shaped or placed, and surrounding bone may need to be removed to free them.|
Crown (any material)
|Cap on tooth||Band 3 - £256.50||£250 - £1,180||Crowns are shaped like natural teeth and fit like a cap over your own teeth. Private prices depend on materials used and time taken. Crowns are lab-made of materials including porcelain (most expensive for a very natural tooth look), porcelain bonded on to precious metal, or all-metal (generally less expensive and used on back teeth).|
|False teeth||Band 3 - £256.50||£355 - £2520||The private price of a full or partial denture will vary depending on what it’s made of, the number of teeth missing and the condition of the remaining teeth. Cobalt chrome dentures rest on the teeth, not the gums, and can fit better than acrylic, although you can have acrylic bonded on to chrome.|
Table notes: NHS prices correct as of March 2019. Private costs correct as of October 2018, and are based on prices quoted by leading private dental chains, Bupa, Dentalcare Group, MyDentist and Rodericks. We also contacted private dentistry companies Genix Healthcare and Southern Dental, but they declined to provide pricing information.
NHS dental charges in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland
Each country has its own dental charging system. Wales has a similar banded system to England, with the equivalent of band 1 charged at £14, band 2 at £44 and band 3 at £190.
Dental charges in Wales are also going up:
- Band 1 treatments will rise by 30p to £14.30
- Band 2 will rise by £1 to £46
- Band 3 will rise by £4.10 to £199.10
Northern Ireland and Scotland have the same system: the charge to the NHS patient is 80% of the dentist's fee, to a maximum of £384. So, for example, the NHS charge for an amalgam filling would be from £13.28 to £34.85.
There are currently no plans for price rises in Scotland and Northern Ireland