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Everything You Need To Know About NHS Dentist Appointments

Private dentistry comes with many benefits that you won’t get with the NHS, including shorter waiting times, more modern dentistry facilities, last-minute dental appointments, a wider selection of treatments and five-star dentistry due to the extensive training and knowledge of private dentists.

While we specialise in professional dental services to both NHS and private patients, we have seen an exceptional demand for NHS dental appointments leading to some patients waiting up to two-years for a dental procedure with the NHS.

If you’re contemplating between NHS and private dental and are looking to find out more about NHS dentistry, keep on reading.

How Does NHS Dentistry Work?

Dentistry is one of the few NHS services where you have to pay a contribution towards the cost of your care. 

Payments are calculated by three main bands alongside emergency dental treatment. If you are having stitches removed, your mouth is bleeding or your dentures need repairing, you will not be charged for treatment.

NHS Dentistry Bands

Emergency dental treatment – £23.80 This covers emergency care in a primary care NHS dental practice such as pain relief or a temporary filling.  Most emergency treatments can be carried out in one appointment.

Band 1 course of treatment – £23.80 This covers an examination, diagnosis (including X-rays), advice on how to prevent future problems, a scale and polish if clinically needed, and preventative care such as the application of fluoride varnish or fissure sealant if appropriate.

Band 2 course of treatment – £65.20 This covers everything listed in Band 1 above, plus any further treatment such as fillings, root canal work or removal of teeth but not more complex items covered by Band 3.

Band 3 course of treatment – £282.80 This covers everything listed in Bands 1 and 2 above, plus crowns, dentures, bridges and other laboratory work.

Who Qualifies for NHS Dentistry?

If you’re wondering who is entitled to NHS dentist appointments, you’ll be pleased to know that everyone is entitled to NHS dental treatment to keep their teeth, gums and mouth healthy.

With that being said, NHS dental treatments are only free if you are:

  • under 18, or under 19 and in full-time education
  • pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months
  • being treated in an NHS hospital and your treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist (but you may have to pay for any dentures or bridges)
  • receiving low-income benefits, or you’re under 20 and a dependant of someone receiving low-income benefits

Are Cosmetic Treatments Available on the NHS?

Unfortunately, cosmetic treatments (for example, teeth whitening and Invisalign) are not available on the NHS as they are not considered essential. This does mean that you will need to visit a private dentist for these treatments. 

As a dentist that offers both NHS and private dentistry, we are able to offer all cosmetic dentistry treatments and affordable NHS dental treatments.

What Is the Difference Between NHS and Private Dentistry?

NHS treatment is designed to be cost-effective and budget-friendly, meaning that anyone is able to have NHS dental treatment. With more demand than private dentistry, this does mean that appointments can sometimes be limited, with some patients experiencing a two-year wait with some NHS dental treatments.

As the NHS is designed to be functional and not for cosmetic reasons, this does, unfortunately, mean that cosmetic dentistry treatments are not available on the NHS and you will need to visit a private dentist instead. Some of these cosmetic procedures not offered on the NHS include dental implants and some preventative treatments.

This means that when you visit an NHS dentist for a check-up or treatment, they will not remove any stains on the teeth as this is considered for cosmetic purposes. Private treatment does, however, offer all cosmetic treatments, including teeth whitening and dental implants, and with the best materials and equipment, you’ll achieve a much better cosmetic result.

Private dentists are generally more flexible with appointment times, so if you have the typical Monday to Friday role and only have weekends free, you may find yourself needing to book time off work for an NHS dental appointment. Private dental appointments can take place in the evenings and at weekends.

As a dental clinic offering both NHS and private dental treatments, we have the very highest standard of treatment and materials with no funding restrictions for private patients. This allows us to focus entirely on the quality of every treatment.

This also means that if you visit our clinic for NHS treatment and would also like a cosmetic treatment, you’ll be able to have the same dentist carrying out your treatments and will not need to travel further out for either of the treatments. And, while private dental treatments do cost more, you do have the option of paying with 0% finance, unlike NHS treatments.

And, with fewer patients to see, a private dentist can, in some cases, see you on the very same day or at least give you a last-minute appointment without the need to wait several weeks or months.

Finally, if you do suffer from dentophobia, also known as dental anxiety, a private dental clinic can be the best option as treatments will be carried out in a more relaxed environment with longer appointment durations.

In a summary, NHS dentistry is designed to be functional, whereas private dentistry is both functional and cosmetic. 

How to Register With an NHS Dentist

If you are looking to register with an NHS dentist, all you’ll need to do is contact them to make an appointment. Unlike NHS surgeries whereby you must live in a catchment area and are required to register, with an NHS dentist, you’ll just need to find a dental surgery that’s convenient for you. 

With St Helier Dental Surgery, you can also register as a new patient online.

Caring For Your Smile

To find out more about whether NHS or private dentistry is better for you, please get in touch. We give all patients the choice between NHS and private treatment options, meaning that when you visit us for a consultation, you’ll be able to make the right choice for you.

We create a treatment plan that is completely individual to your requirements and we discuss the available NHS and private options with a detailed payment plan including our dental fees.

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