How to cut the cost of dental care

Going to the dentist can be painful in more ways than one, with resulting bills proving a tough pill to swallow. But don't let this stop you looking after your gnashers, Moneywise TV shows you how to keep costs down.


Many of us put off going to the dentist until an emergency treatment is required, which can end up being a false economy in the long run.

The old saying of prevention is better than cure, is true in this case, here we show you how to go about it.

Firstly, find a local dentist accepting patients. You can search for both NHS and private dentists online. Then contact them to set up an initial appointment.

Before your first visit, find out what you should expect to pay for treatment.

In the last few years the charging structure used by NHS dentists has been simplified. There are now four fixed price bands relating to the treatment you receive.

Knowing what each band covers will save you being ripped off. Also remember you are entitled to as many appointments as it takes to complete the treatment, at no extra charge.

If you have to cancel an appointment, be sure to do it at least 24 hours in advance, otherwise you may be charged a penalty fee.

You may opt to go for private dental care, and most dentist surgeries offer a mix of both. While the benefits can be a more personal service and better appointment times, you could also end up paying a premium for it.

There are no nationally set fees for private practices, but you can ask the surgery for a price list to see what you can expect to pay. If a dentist recommends a course of treatment make sure you ask them for an estimate, and get it in writing too!

An alternative to paying for each individual treatment is to take out a dental plan. This could work out more cost effective if you need to go to the dentist often and for more than just a quick check-up and clean.

Payment plans are run by surgeries in-house or by external companies. You can also get a scheme individual to you, which means you can take it with you if you change practice. The schemes involve paying a set amount each month, which then covers you for most types of treatment. Different providers offer varying degrees of cover so make sure you read the small print.

A growing number of Brits now go abroad for large-scale dental work, to try and get a better deal. But this is not a decision you should take lightly. Only deal with surgeons registered with the General Medical Council and research your trip thoroughly before you go.

Finally, children, under-19s in full-time education, pregnant women and people on certain state benefits qualify for free dental care, so be sure to explore that avenue too.

Your Comments

very interesting thanks

I am a pensioner just switching from entitlement of free NHS dental care to reduced cost care via an NHS certificate.  I attend a dentist who takes both private and NHS patients so unsure if I qualify as a private or part-NHS patient. And if the prices I now have to pay are those for private (with the NHP cap) or not.   thanks for this information

My wife went to her NHS dentist yesterday and was told that what shee needs doing cannot be done on the NHS (clearly opposite to what the NHS's own leaflet says. she was told that she needs to be referred to a private dentist and can expect to pay around £500. What a joke ... needles to say I will be taking this up with the surgery next week ...

one should be careful as dentist do unnecessary fillings and chagre money, they are supposed to do scaling as well on nhs but they dont do it and refer you to hyaginist which is not nhs, you have to pay for it

 I had the same problems with NHS dentistry - I was told I needed implants and crowns due to tooth wear. I was sent to a private dentist by my NHS dentist and had no choice other than have the work done or have false teeth which at my age was ridiculous. The final cost ?? £17,000. I had to use equity on my house to pay for it. Great teeth now but not many people would have had this choice.

My husband and I always have to pay for cleaning and scaling - at £33 a time!!
We are both NHS patients with a local dentist but what can we do? If we don't attend locally we have a 20 mile round trip to see another NHS dentist.

Would be nice if there are subtitles as my partner and I are both profoundly deaf and rely on subititles when watching a film/programme.

I am going abroad for my treatment. I wanted implants which would have cost me £2,4000 in this country from my dentist but am going to Hungary for a cost of £11,000. I feel on the whole dental treatment is at least as good if not better in Hungary than it is here, there is no pressure and I am happy after contacting some previous patients that the treatment will be first class. If anyone needs extensive work done this is certainly worth looking into.

NHS dentist has certainly ripped me off for a number of years. I have never had the free scale that comes with the check up and have always had to see the hygienist privately even when i was on Income Support. If a tooth hurt he would rather remove it than fill as he got paid the same and it was easier for him. he openly stated this. I have since switched to a private dentist and it is worth the extra if you can possibly afford it. I have been told that I have had 30 years of 'supervised neglect'

What country are you in ?? I have had free hygienist treatment on the NHS for as long as I can remember ... never paid a penny (England).

Well, if you want to correct the cooked tooth, you can start wearingInvisalign braces Tampa.