Support for Dental Costs: A Quick Guide

• Written by Katie

Receiving dental care in the UK has become an expensive process. For those who struggle with dental costs, it can be a stressful experience. You may wonder how you are going to pay for the treatment you need and what support is available. Here is our guide to dental costs in the UK.

NHS or Private

In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to receive dental care from the NHS. Recent data suggests that almost nine in ten NHS dental practices are unable to accept new patients. Those that can have long waiting lists, meaning it could take months or even years to receive an appointment. Even if you can get an appointment, costs can range from £23.80 to more than £280.

You can find more information on NHS dental costs by visiting the NHS dental charges page.

The difficulties surrounding getting an NHS appointment mean that many people feel pressured to choose private dental treatment. Unfortunately, private practices charge higher dental costs, and patients on a low income cannot receive any financial support. NHS patients, meanwhile, can receive support that can reduce dental costs or even provide free treatment.

Help with NHS Dental Costs

Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for free dental treatment on the NHS. This will cover most forms of dental procedure.

Under-18s are not expected to pay for their dental treatment. Under-19s in full-time education are also eligible. Free NHS dental treatment is also available to those who are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months.

If you are staying in an NHS hospital and receive dental treatment from an on-site dentist, your procedure will also be covered by the NHS.

Further support is available depending on your financial circumstances. If you are receiving certain benefits, you are eligible for free dental treatment on the NHS. These benefits are:

  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Universal Credit (eligibility criteria apply)

However, to receive free treatment you may be asked to provide proof of eligibility.

If you are not eligible for free dental treatment, but receive a low income, the NHS Low Income Scheme could pay towards some of your dental costs. This will not cover all costs but may drastically reduce the amount you are expected to pay.

You can read more on the NHS website.

Help with Private Dental Costs

Unfortunately, there are no national schemes providing free or discounted care at private practices. Some practices may accept NHS patients, and these procedures will count as NHS treatment.

Covering the costs of private treatment can be difficult. One of the safest options may be to sign up for dental insurance in case the need arises. With dental insurance, you pay in small monthly amounts that are then paid out when you receive dental treatment. Depending on your plan and how much you have paid, this may cover part of your dental costs or all of them.

If you take out a dental insurance plan, it is important that you choose your plan carefully. You will need to know whether any treatments are not covered and what the financial limit is on coverage. There may also be a waiting period before you can make a claim. Further considerations should be made as to whether the provider covers pre-existing dental problems.

However, if you need more immediate treatment, dental insurance may not provide the support with dental costs you need. In extreme circumstances, you may need to take out a bank loan to cover the costs of your care.

National Dental Emergency

It seems unlikely that the UK shortage of NHS dental practices and the high prices for private treatment are going to go away anytime soon. Whilst there are schemes in place to support you with NHS dental costs, these will not be helpful if you cannot be seen. And we recognise that financial limitations may make it difficult to cover the costs of private treatment or insurance premiums.

If you have any concerns about receiving dental care, we would recommend contacting Citizens Advice for advice specific to you.

To find an NHS dentist near you, use the NHS find a dentist service.

Reassurance from LifeConnect24

Though we cannot provide support with dental costs, LifeConnect24 can offer peace of mind in and around the home. With our personal alarms, help can be arranged at the press of a button if you experience a fall and need help.

When your personal alarm is activated, an alert is sent to our 24/7 Response Team. They will then assess the situation before informing your emergency contacts that assistance is required. When necessary, they will also contact the emergency services.

To find out more about the LifeConnect24 personal alarm service and our products, read our in-depth guide. If you have any further questions about our service, please do not hesitate to get in touch on 0800 030 8999. Alternatively, fill in our Contact Form and one of our team will get back to you.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 26th February 2024.

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