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NHS dental treatment charges in England rise by 8.5% - here's what you need to know

NHS dental treatment costs in England have risen by around 8.5% this week. It means the cost of a routine check-up has increased from £23.80 to £25.80, while more complex treatments, such as crowns, will now cost £306.80 (up from £282.80). Here's what you need to know.

These charges normally rise each year, but had been frozen since December 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The table below details the price changes that have taken force this April. 

NHS dental treatment costs in England

Dental treatment band Previous charges Current charges (as of 24 April 2023)
Band One - includes routine check-ups, X-rays and scale and polish £23.80 £25.80 (up £2)
Band Two - includes all treatment in Band One, plus things like fillings, root canals and removing teeth £65.20 £70.70 (up £5.50)
Band Three - includes all treatment in Bands One and Two, plus more complex treatment like crowns, dentures and bridges £282.80 £306.80 (up £24)

See our Cheap and free prescriptions guide for tips to cut the cost of medicine. 

Check to see if you qualify for free NHS dental treatment in England

You DO NOT have to pay for NHS dental treatment in England if you are:

  • Aged under 18, or aged under 19 and in full-time education.
  • 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).
  • Pregnant or have had a baby in the past 12 months.
  • Receiving low income benefits, such as income-related employment and support allowance, income support, the guarantee element of pension credit or universal credit, or you're under 20 and a dependant of someone receiving low income benefits.

See the NHS Business Services Authority website for how to check if you're eligible for free treatment.

Not eligible for free treatment? Consider a healthcare cash plan

One possible way to save on dental treatment is through a healthcare cash plan. This is a type of insurance policy that lets you claim back the cost of routine dental, optical or physio treatment (up to a certain limit) – with the idea that you claim back more than the policy costs.

While it won't work for everyone, the savings can be substantial. For more on how these plans work, things to watch out for and our top picks, see our Healthcare cash plans guide.

Dental treatment costs differ in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

The changes which came into effect this week only affect NHS patients in England. 

  • In Northern Ireland and Scotland, anyone who isn't eligible for free dental treatment or help with costs must pay 80% of the cost of their dental treatment, capped at £384. Free or discounted treatment is typically available to those who are aged under 26 in Scotland and under 18 in Northern Ireland, pregnant people or those receiving certain benefits. 
  • In Wales, the cost of a Band One treatment is £14.70, Band Two is £47 and Band Three is £203. 

We've asked the governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales if there are plans to increase the cost of dental treatment in each country and we will update this story when we know more.

See if you can save on medical costs by getting your prescription for free or buying a prescription 'season ticket'

While the rise in dental treatment costs is unavoidable, you may still be able to save money on medical treatment elsewhere, for example on your prescription costs.

Firstly, check to see if you qualify for free prescriptions – the NHS has an online 'Can I get free prescriptions?' tool where you can check your eligibility.

If you don't qualify for free prescriptions but pay for at least 12 a year (or four every three months), you can save money by buying a prescription 'season ticket'.

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