21 Apr 2016

Taking care of your teeth can be an expensive business. That's why it's worth reminding readers that the simplest and easiest way to do this is by brushing twice a day, flossing regularly and avoiding sugary food and drink where possible.

But whether it's a routine checkup or major work, there will be times when that trip to the dentist is essential. And paying for it can be a key issue for many, depending on the size of the work.

What are my options when it comes to the NHS?

Even if you use the NHS, you will still have to pay, unless you are receipt of benefits, retired, etc. The NHS charges on a sliding scale of fixed prices, as follows:

Band 1: £19.70. This covers essentials like dental examination, diagnostics and consultation. You can also get X-Rays, scale and polish, moulds, colour photography, marginal corrections of filings and other small work. It also lays the groundwork for additional work where required.

Band 2: £53.90. This band covers everything in Band 1, and also further treatments like root canals, transplanting and removing teeth, fillings and dental extractions.

Band 3: £233.70. This level covers everything in Bands 1 and 2, plus major work like veneers, crowns, bridges and other treatments.

For a full, detailed list of the procedures covered by each band, click here. There is a limit to NHS treatment, however, and treatments such as whitening, veneers, and implants are only available privately, except in cases of clinical need. If you have any specific questions, it's best to consult your dentist for further information. There are services which can help you spread the cost of your NHS dental treatment to make it more manageable.

What other options do I have when it comes to paying for dental treatment?

You can use a private dentist for certain procedures not covered by the NHS, and it's worth noting that your NHS dentist and your private dentist may in fact be one and the same thing.

In terms of paying the costs of routine dental work and more major dental surgery, you can spread these in a few different ways. One option is a capitation policy, whereby you spread the cost of your dental needs over 12 months, by making an arrangement with your dentist.

Another is to take out dental insurance, and this can be a convenient and flexible option, covering you for routine treatment, as well as more complex work, and even accidents, and worldwide emergencies. There are different levels of cover and it's important to familiarise  yourself with a policy before purchasing.

Besides this, it's worth checking to see if you have cover through your employer, and you can also decide to put aside savings to cover your dental costs as they arise. 

What you choose to do will depend on your individual circumstances, although it's certainly worth consulting insurance companies like Dencover in the first instance for more information, to help you in your decision. And it's also important to note that, whatever you decide to do, taking good care of your teeth is the best, and cheapest policy of all.