Registering for NHS Dental Care: Understanding Eligibility and Treatment Costs

Today (April 25), a committee comprised of members from different political parties is scheduled to hear testimony from high-ranking officials from NHS England and the Government. This hearing comes in the wake of the revelation that 90% of NHS dental practices are not accepting new adult patients.

Last month, a thorough investigation conducted by the BBC uncovered the fact that dental practices were facing significant backlogs of patients in need of appointments due to the pandemic. This exacerbation of the NHS funding gap forced dentists to take on more private work to stay afloat.

The investigation also disclosed that a third of the UK's top-tier councils had no dentists available to take on adult NHS patients. Additionally, 80% of NHS practices were not accepting children as new patients.

As a result of this investigation, the Health and Social Care Committee initiated an inquiry into dentistry, and Members of Parliament are set to hear evidence on Tuesday (April 25).

The news follows a recent survey revealing that 10% of British individuals have resorted to performing DIY dentistry at home because they were unable to secure an appointment with a registered dentist.

To combat the challenges posed by these circumstances, the Department for Health has allocated an additional £50 million to alleviate the backlogs caused by Covid-19. Improving access to NHS services is a top priority for the department.

Shawn Charlwood, the chairman of the general dental practice committee at the British Dental Association, expressed concern about the state of NHS dentistry. He stated, "NHS dentistry is facing a critical moment, as millions are unable to receive the care they need and more dentists are leaving each day. We are witnessing the consequences of years of neglect, exacerbated by the pressures of the pandemic. The question now is whether ministers will take action before it's too late."

So, what steps can individuals take to register with an NHS dentist, and how much does treatment cost?

How can I register with an NHS dentist?

In contrast to registering with a general practitioner (GP), there are no geographical limitations when searching for an NHS dentist.

To register with a dentist, all you need to do is locate a dental surgery that is convenient for you and contact them to inquire about available openings or appointments.

If the dental surgery is unable to accommodate you, you may be required to join a waiting list or opt for private treatment.

Once you have found a dental surgery, you must complete the registration process, which includes being added to the patient database.

You can search for an NHS dentist in your vicinity by visiting the following link: [here]( If you are still struggling to find a dentist in your area, you can contact NHS England's Customer Contact Centre at 0300 311 2233.

What are the costs of dental treatment?

The cost of NHS dental treatment varies based on the specific treatment band it falls under. Here is a breakdown of the costs:

Urgent dental treatment – £25.80

This band covers emergency care, such as pain relief or temporary fillings, provided at a primary care dental practice.

Band 1 course of treatment – £25.80

This includes examinations, diagnoses (including radiographs), advice on preventive care, scaling and polishing if clinically necessary, and preventative treatments, such as the application of fluoride varnish or fissure sealant.

Band 2 course of treatment – £70.70

This covers all the services listed in Band 1, as well as additional treatments like fillings, root canal work, or tooth extractions if necessary.

Price of Band 3 treatment - £306.80

This package encompasses all the services mentioned in Bands 1 and 2 above, in addition to services such as the provision of crowns, dentures, bridges, and various other laboratory procedures.

For a more comprehensive understanding of NHS dental charges, please follow this link.

Who qualifies for complimentary NHS dental check-ups in the United Kingdom?

Several criteria determine eligibility for cost-free NHS dental services. These guidelines are provided on the official NHS website and may include:

  • If you are below the age of 18, or under 19 and engaged in full-time education.
  • If you are currently pregnant or have given birth within the past 12 months.
  • If you are undergoing medical treatment at an NHS hospital and the dental services are administered by a hospital dentist (although you might be responsible for any costs related to dentures or bridges).
  • If you receive benefits due to low-income circumstances, or if you are under the age of 20 and dependent on someone who receives such benefits.
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