Going to the dentist is a necessary and often expensive visit, but it doesn't have to break the bank. There are several ways you can save cash when looking after your pearly white smiles and we've compiled the ultimate list of money-saving tips for your next trip to the dentist's chair…
Know your NHS bands
Unlike medical bills on the National Health Service, dental cover is not completely free and UK citizens are required to pay a contribution towards the cost of care. However, compared to many private dental policies, NHS treatment is still very good value. There are three bands of treatment pricing: Band 1 at £20.60 which covers an examination, x-rays, scale and polish if necessary. Emergency dental treatment also falls into this band. Band 2 at £56.30 covers the same plus fillings, root canals and teeth removal. Band 3 at £244.30 covers all aspects of Bands 1 and 2 as well as crowns, dentures, bridges and lab work. You can find out what other treatments each band covers on the NHS website.
Dental discounts for students
If you are under 18 or under 19 and in full-time education, then you are entitled to free NHS dental care. Unfortunately, students above 19 years of age will have to contribute to their dental care according to NHS pricing bands. According to the National Union of Students, everyone living in Wales aged under 25 qualifies for free dental examinations, although other treatments may be charged. This is a very good reason to study in Wales!
Free dental treatment for kids
All children under the age of 18 are entitled to free NHS dental care in the UK. The website My Dentist is a fantastic resource for information on finding your local dentist. It also provides tips on how to introduce your child to the dentist, plus helpful guides on how to brush your child’s teeth and to stop their diet affecting them. Some private dentists also provide free NHS dental treatment to children so check with your local practice.
Maternity dental cover
Good news if you're pregnant or if you have had a baby in the last 12 months: you are exempt from NHS dental charges! To claim, you'll need a valid maternity exemption certificate, which you can apply for through your midwife or GP, who will need to sign the form. When you receive the certificate it is valid from one month before the date the application was received until 12 months after your due date or the baby's birth.
Private dental cover through work
Many companies provide workers with dental insurance, which covers some or all of your dental treatment. There are varying levels of cover, so check with your HR department as to which level you are on. Your dental insurance may only cover NHS treatment or part of private treatment after an excess has been paid. Private medical insurance is particularly useful if you make regular trips to the dentist.
Dental help for low incomes
If you or your spouse receive low-income benefits in the UK, there's a good chance you will be eligible for help with dental bills. These benefits include Income Support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Pension Credit and Universal Credit in certain circumstances. You can also get help if you have a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate or a valid HC2 certificate. In addition, the NHS run a Low Income Scheme to help with dental costs.