NHS dentist charges to rise by 5% in England

The benefits of private over NHS dental care

Just like with medical prescriptions, the cost for dental treatment under the NHS system tends to rise annually. This year, it’s recently been confirmed that dental fees will increase by 5 percent in England. The new costs which have already come into effect have increased a dental check-up by £1.10.

NHS dental bands and what are they?

A dental check-up is used to determine what dental issues are newly present compared to what was observed at the previous visit to the dental clinic. The cost for the initial examination, along with any X-rays required to check for issues below the gumline, plus scaling and polishing the teeth, comes to £22.70. That all comes under Band 1.

Other dental work like a filling to deal with tooth cavities, or a root canal, has an NHS charge of £62.10. This dental treatment is more time-consuming than a check-up. (This is all in Band 2.)

The more extensive treatment options under Band 3 include putting in crowns, bridges or a set of dentures like those provided by AP Smilecare. The NHS charge towards this type of dental work is now £269.30.

showing the damage

More about the charges

As noted by the British Dental Association, for many dental clinics, the NHS patient charges make up a significant part of their budget. Whereas dentists confirmed that NHS dental fees comprised roughly 20 percent of total revenues in 2010, that’s since risen to 30 percent.

While the NHS charges do contribute significantly, making dental surgeries more viable, in inflation-adjusted terms, the two billion cost of the NHS dental care expenses to the UK government is a half billion reduction compared to 2010.

As such, it should be understood that funding of the public’s dental care in England is dragging behind that of the rest of the UK. When the figures are adjusted to show them per person, the annual funding is just £36 in England whereas up in Scotland and over in Northern Ireland, the annual funding is a full £50 for each person.

The British Dental Association (BDA) noted that while the charge increases were good for the dental profession, previous cuts meant that dentists were worse off. Overgaard-Nielson, the leader of the BDA, commented that without a substantial increased contribution from the NHS, increasingly customers will be footing more and more of the final bill for dental care until the NHS contribution becomes negligible.

How about elsewhere in the UK?

Both Northern Ireland and Scotland see charges levied differently. The dental patient doesn’t usually need to cover more than 20 percent of the total cost of treatment.
In Wales, a banding system that’s not unlike that in England has been adopted. Yet, dental costs tend to be about 20-33% lower than England.

Throughout the UK, some charging exemptions exist to cover children’s dental care. Also, there are various provisions for people currently on a lower income who find oral care difficult to afford.

Ultimately, for people living in England, the NHS charges are unlikely to cover a significant percentage of the cost of dental care. Unless things change, this will increasingly be the case where the government covers less of the final dental bill than elsewhere in the UK.

Of course, another option is going private – and if you do, you can be certain of quality right here at AP Smilecare. We’ve got decades of experience in using core treatments such as teeth whitening and smile makeovers to help you regain confidence in your smile. You can browse these core treatments here, or alternatively give us a call on 01254 297 000!

Posted on: 29th Apr, 2019