Who is Entitled to Free Dental Care in the UK?

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The NHS is the public healthcare system in England, primarily funded by societal taxation via the Department of Social Care. This healthcare system covers GP services, chronic and acute in-patient, and out-patient (including care home, nursing, immunisation and ambulance services) hospital and specialist healthcare, health education, optician services and dentistry. Doctors and dentists run their own practices, with local authorities overseeing hospital trusts, and are paid per capita, based on how many patients register with them.

If you have a national insurance number in the UK, you are entitled to access to free healthcare at the point of use from the NHS. However, with dental care it is not that simple, with some patients being asked for a contribution towards their care. Check-ups and treatments, as a one-off or regularly, are divided into payment plans called bands 1-3, based upon the level of work undertaken by the NHS dentist.

Who Is Entitled To Free Dental Treatments in the UK?

NHS dental services are free for those:

  • Under 18 or 19 and currently studying in full-time education
  • Mothers who are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months
  • In an NHS hospital dentist being treated by NHS dentist, (excluding dentures and bridges)
  • On benefits or under 20 and relying on someone who is on benefits
  • On job-seekers allowance or with a spouse or partner who is
  • On income support or employment support allowance or with a spouse or partner who is
  • Retired and receiving state pension credit
  • On universal credit or with a spouse or partner who is
  • If you have a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate or have a spouse or partner who is
  • If you have a HC2 low-income certificate or have a spouse or partner who is

Everyone outside these 10 criteria must pay a contribution towards their NHS dentist services, with the NHS subsiding the rest of the costs. Medications required as part of treatment are also charged for by the NHS pharmaceutical department, with the NHS again subsiding costs to lower the price for the patient.

What Are The Bands For Dental Treatment In The UK?

There are 3 bands for NHS dental treatment.

  1. Band 1 costs £23.80 and covers all emergency dental care, check-up services, X-rays, examination dental advice, any necessary scale and polishes and any measures to prevent future decay, such as the use of fissure sealants and fluorite varnishes. The aim of band one treatment is to treat dental crises and prevent future issues, with early intervention seen as the best form of decay prevention.
  2. Band 2 costs £65.20 and covers band 1 treatments and any additional treatments undertaken, such as fillings, root canal work, tooth removal and more complex X-rays.
  3. Band 3 costs £282.80 and covers all in band 1 and 2 plus crowns, dentures, bridges and any complex laboratory work required.

All three bands cover the course of treatment in full, no matter the number of appointments required. Missing an appointment without 24 hours-notice, results in a band 1 charge and if you leave a treatment session early, you are charged for the duration of the session. Stitches being removed or repair of dentures, are not charged.

Dental Services Excluded From NHS Services

The NHS will only cover necessary care treatment. This excludes anything considered cosmetic but not clinically needed, including tooth whitening, tooth shaping and tooth braces for cosmetic rather than medical need. This is for both patients exempt from paying NHS charges and those required to pay a contribution towards their treatment.

NHS dentists are over-stretched, especially after Covid lockdown and the two-year hiatus in treatments, and they face a long backlog of patients desperately needing care.

The NHS budgets are stretched and waiting lists are long. NHS dental practices face too many patients and not enough resources and so, despite the strong care ethics of excellent, well-intended practitioners, they are forced to provide patients the minimum care they can. They treat critically necessary issues, but do not have the time or finances to go much beyond this. This reduces the quality-of-care patients receive and the after-treatment care provided.

How Can GlobMed Help?

If you require any NHS services which are outside the remits of the NHS dentistry services, for example cosmetic whitening or straightening and even dental implants, or have been unable to access NHS stretched services due to long-waiting lists or lack of dentist availability in your area, GlobMed can help you access the best treatment, both in the UK and abroad. We believe that the UK is a leading force in global medical technologies and are proud to have a detailed understanding of the UK healthcare system. We work with some of the world's best doctors and scientists based right here in the UK to help our clients access to the best care available.

Additionally, you may find that our services, tailored to you and at your convenience, start at prices not far outside the bands of charges set by the NHS, especially for complicated procedures. We believe that it is quality over cost when it comes to health and want to help you access the best care that your smile deserves. We are aware of how essential dental health is for self-confidence, removal and prevention of pain, job prospects, food pleasure and appetite for life. We can help you finance your treatment within your means, finding you a tailored service that suits individual patient requirements.

GlobMed is proud of its role in healthcare. We know about the struggles now facing the NHS and the issues this presents patients in receiving adequate high-quality care that each person deserves. We work hard to ensure our services are safe, transparent and client focused. We do our research and help you access the best treatment that you desire.

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