All necessary care and treatment is available on the NHS. This means all treatment that is necessary to protect and maintain the health of your mouth, teeth and gums, including fillings, dentures, crowns, and bridges. If you want, or your dentist suggests, treatment that is purely cosmetic (for example, tooth whitening, large white fillings or white crowns on back teeth), you can only have this treatment done privately. Ask your dentist how much this will cost in addition to charges for NHS treatment.

Dental implants and orthodontic treatment, such as braces, are available on the NHS, but the treatment will only be carried out if there is a medical need for it.

Checklist for patients

Your dentist should:

  • Undertake a thorough examination of your mouth, teeth and gums,
  • Explain your treatment options and let you know what can be provided on the NHS or privately,
  • Make sure you know how much your NHS and/or private treatment will cost,
  • Provide you with a written treatment plan (including costs) if you are receiving a mix of NHS and private care,
  • Display a poster about NHS charges in the waiting room,
  • Discuss with you how often you need to attend (if you have good oral health it's unlikely you will need a check up every six months), and
  • Provide a leaflet with information about the practice and the services available.

Your dentist cannot:

  • Charge you for missed appointments (but if you continue to miss appointments they may decide not to offer you treatment), or
  • Accept children as NHS patients on the condition that their parent, parents or guardian agree to sign up for private treatment.

You should:

  • Give your dentist as much notice as possible if you have to cancel or change an appointment,
  • Request a written treatment plan (including costs) if you would like one,
  • Ask for information on your treatment options and how much it will cost,
  • Ask about your oral health and how often you need to go to the dentist,
  • Follow your dentist's advice to prevent tooth decay and gum disease,
  • Pay your bill promptly, and
  • Contact the person responsible for practice complaints if you believe you have been charged incorrectly or if you are not satisfied with the NHS treatment you have received.