The cost of dental treatment can vary quite considerably, depending on what work needs to be done in order to keep your mouth, gums and teeth in the best possible shape and free from damage and disease.
You may find that you have to pursue the cost for some medical expenses and treatments through a company such as Axiclaim.co.uk or you can also look at your options on the NHS, to see if you can get help with your dental costs, if you have suffered a problem.
The NHS provides access to free dental treatment provided you meet the qualifying criteria laid out in their guidelines.
You will not have to pay for NHS dental treatment if you are –
• Under 18 or under 19 and in full-time education
• Pregnant or had a baby within 12 month period before your treatment starts
• Staying in an NHS hospital and the hospital dentist subsequently carries out your treatment whilst you are there
• An NHS Hospital Dental Service outpatient, although you might be required to pay for your dentures or bridges
• Already in receipt of Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit guarantee credit or Universal credit. (You are advised to check entitlement after October 31 2014 as a result of rule changes.)
• A named beneficiary or entitled to a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
• The named person on a valid HC2 certificate
If you're named on a valid HC3 certificate, you may not have to pay for all your NHS dental treatment. HC2 and HC3 certificates are issued under the NHS Low Income Scheme.
It should also be pointed out that if you are currently receiving any of the following benefits on their own, you will not be considered exempt from paying for NHS dental costs.
Expect to be billed for treatment if you are receiving any of the following benefits:
• Incapacity Benefit
• Contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance
• Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance
• Disability Living Allowance
• Council Tax Benefit
• Housing Benefit
• Pension Credit savings credit
The cost of NHS dental treatment is broken down into three bands and the following charges apply as of the 1st April 2014.
There is a charge of £18.50 to cover the cost of examination and diagnosis, together with advice on how to prevent future issues developing. You may also be offered a scale and a polish of your teeth if considered necessary and your treatment might also include the application of fluoride varnish or fissure sealant within this band.
In the event that you require emergency treatment which takes more than one visit to complete, you will still only be asked to pay one single Band 1 charge.
The cost of Band 2 treatment is currently set at £50.50 and will cover everything outlined in the Band 1 list of available treatments together with further work that may be required such as fillings, root canal work or singular or multiple tooth extractions.
The final Band 3 encompasses everything in the first two bands as well more intensive work such as crowns, bridges and dentures and is fixed at £219.00.
Proving your entitlement
Your dentist will ask for evidence that confirms your entitlement to financial help for NHS dental work and the NHS HC11 leaflet provides more information as to what you are expected to produce in order to prove your entitlement to financial assistance.
If you are not exempt
Even if you confirm that you are not exempt from charges under the current guidelines, you can still apply for financial help under the NHS Low Income Scheme.
The scheme is aimed at providing a level of financial support for people who are on a low income and as long as they don't have savings or investments that exceed the current capital limit of £16,000. This figure rises to £23,250 in savings if you are living permanently in a care home.
There are a number of ways in which you may be able to get financial help with your dental costs and if you are on a low income or receiving benefits, you should ask for assistance in making your application if you are unsure in any way what to do or whether you actually qualify.
Looking after your mouth is important to your overall health, so it is always advisable to keep up to date with any dental work that needs doing.
By Jenny Barton
Jenny is a specialist clinical negligence Solicitor and represents Claimants in cases involving a range of medico-legal issues and injuries, including: delayed diagnosis of cancer, fatal accident claims, birth injuries/cerebral palsy, diagnosis and treatment of spinal injury, dental claims, orthopaedic claims, missed or delayed diagnosis, failures to treat, surgical errors, inadequate nursing care and care of the elderly. Jenny graduated with a Distinction in Legal Practice from the BPP School of Law, after achieving a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Nottingham. Outside of work, Jenny enjoys travelling the world and is a keen cook and baker.