NHS

Limited availability

The NHS provides all the treatment necessary to secure and maintain your oral health. There are some treatments (mainly cosmetic) which are not available on the NHS, and you may opt to have these done privately.

It is required that patients visit the dentist regularly to remain registered for routine NHS treatment and emergency care. Non-regular attenders may be refused emergency treatment if our appointment diary is fully booked. Two missed dental appointments within a 12-month period may result in a patient being classed as a non-regular attender. Patients aged 18 and over normally pay charges for NHS treatment.

All general dental practices are privately owned either by corporates, limited companies or single owners. None are owned by the NHS. General dental practices therefore are funded and run very differently from General Medical Practices.

Practices offering the NHS dentistry payment plan choose to do so by accepting a government subsidised dental health contract which the government constructs and the practice is obligated to follow. Failure to do so risks the offer of a NHS contract to the practice in the future.

Negotiation of the NHS contract is limited, that is to say a practice can downsize the contract easily but upscaling is rarely a possibility. The ramification of this is that the amount of NHS services offered by any general dental practice is limited and waiting lists have developed.

The department of health through NHS England control; the NHS budget, NHS services offered, the cost incurred to NHS patients, availability of NHS treatment to legal UK residents and contractual agreements made to dental practices taking on NHS treatment.

NHS England relies on data collection to monitor the effectiveness and need for the NHS dental service. Data such as a practice’s NHS output, individual dentist treatment prescribing, a patient’s claim to full or part funded treatment and what treatment and when it was delivered are closely monitored. All patients requesting NHS treatment must therefore sign a declaration stating that they agree to data sharing and if found fraudulent in the level of entitlement, are susceptible to a penalty charge.


If you are on a low income, and you have savings of less than £16,000 (or £21,500 if you are permanently in a care home), you may be entitled to help with your health costs.

You will need to fill in form HC1 to claim HC2 or HC3 help with NHS dental costs. Your income and circumstances will be assessed and, depending on your situation, you could be given either an HC2 or an HC3 certificate. The HC1 form is available from the Jobcentre Plus offices or by calling 0845 850 1166 or 08701 555 455. An HC2 certificate will mean that you are exempt from all NHS charges, including prescription charges. An HC3 certificate will mean that you are entitled to some limited help with certain NHS charges. The exact amount will depend on your individual circumstance.

The Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS) is for people who are on a low income and are referred to a hospital for specialist dental treatment. You may be able to get help with the cost of travelling to and from your appointments.

Please note, the following benefits, on their own, do not entitle you to help with health costs:

  • Incapacity benefit.
  • Disability living allowance.
  • Pension credit savings credit.
  • Contribution-based Jobseeker’s allowance.

You will receive free treatment from your NHS dentist if, when the treatment starts, you are:

  • Under 18 years

  • Under 19 years and in full time education

  • Pregnant or you’ve had a baby within the 12 months before treatment starts

  • You’re included in an award of Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit guarantee credit

  • You’re named on, or entitled to, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate

  • You’re named on a valid HC2 certificate

  • If you’re named on a valid HC3 certificate then you may not have to pay for all of your NHS dental treatment

Your Jobcentre Plus, or Pension centre, will be able to provide you with a letter of entitlement.

Your dentist will ask for evidence that you are entitled to free NHS dental treatment.

If you are under 18 years of age, you can use any official document showing your name and date of birth, such as a passport, or birth certificate.

If you are 18 years of age, and in full-time education, your school, college, or Local Education Authority (LEA) can provide proof that you are in full-time education. You will also need an official document showing your name and age.

If you are on a low income, and you have savings of less than £16,000 (or £21,500 if you are permanently in a care home), you may be entitled to help with your health costs.

You will need to fill in form HC1 to claim HC2 or HC3 help with NHS dental costs. Your income and circumstances will be assessed and, depending on your situation, you could be given either an HC2 or an HC3 certificate. The HC1 form is available from the Jobcentre Plus offices or by calling 0845 850 1166 or 08701 555 455. An HC2 certificate will mean that you are exempt from all NHS charges, including prescription charges. An HC3 certificate will mean that you are entitled to some limited help with certain NHS charges. The exact amount will depend on your individual circumstance.

The Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS) is for people who are on a low income and are referred to a hospital for specialist dental treatment. You may be able to get help with the cost of travelling to and from your appointments.

Please note, the following benefits, on their own, do not entitle you to help with health costs:

  • Incapacity benefit.
  • Disability living allowance.
  • Pension credit savings credit.
  • Contribution-based Jobseeker’s allowance.

NHS Band 1 Treatment

£23.80

This includes one or more of the following: Examination, Any necessary dental x-rays, Routine scaling & polish, Oral Health advice.

NHS Band 2 Treatment

£65.20

Band 1 treatment plus one or more of the following: filling, root canal treatment, tooth extraction, periodontal treatment.

NHS Band 3 Treatment

£282.80

This includes Band 1 and Band 2 treatments required and a Crown, Bridge, or Denture.

Urgent Treatment

£23.80

This covers any urgent care required to relieve you from pain or discomfort.

  • Ilfracombe Patient
    “I'm always made to feel welcome and at ease. The dentists are friendly, with a good chair-side manner - an excellent experience all round.”
    Ilfracombe Patient