Dentists provide regular check ups to help keep your teeth and gums healthy. In some cases dentists will need to provide treatment to help prevent further problems.
Most dentists provide both NHS and private treatment. The advantage of this is that you can have work that you need to keep your teeth healthy on the NHS, and cosmetic work privately, without having to go to two different dentists.
What treatment is available on the NHS?
All the treatment necessary, in the opinion of your dentist to achieve and maintain good oral health is available on the NHS. This means that the NHS provides any treatment that you need to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy and free of pain.
It does not include treatments such as teeth whitening or veneers, which you might want to make your teeth more attractive but are not clinically necessary.
What will I have to pay?
You can have all your dental treatment provided under the NHS that your dentist feels is clinically necessary in order to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy. If your dentist says you need a particular type of treatment, you should not be asked to pay for it privately.
There are three standard charges for all NHS dental treatments. This makes it easier to know how much you may need to pay and also helps to ensure that you are being charged for NHS care (rather than private care).
the maximum charge for a complex course of treatment (Band 3) is £209
most courses of treatment (Band 1 and 2) cost £17.50 or £48
For detailed information about each band, please visit the 'NHS dental treatments' link on this page under external links.
Does everyone have to pay for treatment?
You will not need to pay for dental treatment under certain circumstances, such as you are aged under 18, or receive certain benefits.
For more information please select the 'Help with dental costs' link on this page under external links.
Out-of-hours dental treatment
Dental practices are normally open during the daytime and often at weekends. If a problem occurs outside of these hours, you may need to be seen urgently. If you are in discomfort, you can try helping yourself first by taking pain medication.
You can call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 for advice on treating yourself if the problem can wait until normal practice hours.
If your problem is more urgent, you can access out-of-hours dental services in your area by telephoning:
your practice, who should have an answerphone message with details of how to access treatment out of hours
your local PCT’s helpline or
If you are in severe pain, are bleeding a lot, have a major head injury or concussion, you should go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital.
Where is my nearest dentist?
To find your nearest dentist use the NHS Choices widget on the Doctors, GPs and hospitals page.