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. Any cosmetic treatments, such as teeth whitening, white fillings or white crowns on back teeth, are offered on a private basis. Ask your dentist how much this will cost in addition to charges for NHS treatment.

There are three standard charges for all NHS dental treatments:

Band 1 course of treatment
This covers an examination, diagnosis and advice. If necessary, it also includes x-rays, scaling and planning for further treatment.

Band 2 course of treatment
This covers all treatment covered by band 1, plus additional treatment, such as fillings, root canal treatment and removing teeth (extractions).

Band 3 course of treatment
This covers all treatment covered by Bands 1 and 2, plus more complex procedures, such as crowns, dentures and bridges.

Cosmetic dentistry like dental veneers and orthodontic treatment, such as Six Month Smiles, are available at Oh My Smile, but not on the NHS. Patients, namely children who are eligible for and require NHS orthodontic treatment are referred to an NHS Orthodontist for an assessment and treatment if appropriate.

Who is entitled to free dental care?
You can get free NHS dental treatment if you are:

Under 18
18 and in full-time education
Pregnant, or have had a baby in the 12 months before treatment starts,
An NHS inpatient and the treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist, or
An NHS Hospital Dental Service outpatient. There may be a charge for dentures and bridges

You are also entitled to free NHS dental treatment if you or your partner (including civil partners), receive either:
Income Support
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Pension Credit Guarantee Credit; or
you are named on, or entitled to (use your award notice as evidence), an NHS tax credit exemption certificate, or
you are named on a valid HC2 certificate (full help with health costs) certificate.

Find out more about the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS).

Partial help
If you are named on a valid HC3 certificate (partial help), you might get some help towards the cost of your NHS dental treatment. The certificate tells you how much you will have to pay.

How do I get an HC2 or HC3 certificate?
If you have a low income the NHS Low Income Scheme may help you. To apply for an HC2 certificate, you should complete form HC1 available from Jobcentre Plus offices or most NHS hospitals. Your doctor, dentist or optician may have one too. You can also get an HC1 by calling 0845 610 1112 .

You will qualify for a full help HC2 certificate (which includes free NHS prescriptions), if your income is less than or equal to your requirements, or your income is greater than your requirements by no more than half the current English prescription charge.

You will qualify for a limited help HC3 certificate if your income is greater than your requirements by more than half the current English prescription charge. The HC3 certificate shows how much you have to pay towards your health costs.
Certificates are usually valid for periods of between 6 months to 5 years, depending on your circumstances.
Find out more about the NHS Low Income Scheme.

Exemption for pregnant women
Pregnant women and those who have had a baby in the last 12 months get free NHS dental treatment if:
you are accepted for a course of treatment,
you are pregnant, or
have had a baby in the previous 12 months.

To apply for your maternity exemption certificate ask your doctor, nurse, midwife or health visitor for form FW8. You are required to complete parts 1 and 2 of the form and your doctor, midwife or health visitor is asked to sign to confirm the information given by you is correct. Your MatEx will last until 12 months after the expected date of birth. If your baby is born early, you can continue to use your exemption certificate until it expires. If your baby is born late, you can apply for an extension. If you apply after your baby is born, your exemption certificate will run for 12 months from your baby’s birth.  For more information on how to apply for a MatEx visit the NHS Business Services Authority website.

How do I claim for help with NHS dental charges?
Tell the dentist you want NHS treatment when you make the appointment and sign the form you are given when you go for treatment. If you do not have to pay, put a cross in the appropriate box.
If you have a valid HC2 certificate or tax credit exemption certificate, write in the certificate number.
If you have a valid HC3 certificate, write in the certificate number and the maximum your certificate says you can pay. You will pay either what appears on the certificate or the actual charge, whichever is the least.
You will be asked to show proof of your entitlement to help with dental costs. If you are not sure you are entitled to help, then you must pay. You can claim a refund, but make sure you keep all receipts.

How can I claim a refund?
Ask your dentist for NHS receipt form FP64 or a receipt that shows the amount of the NHS charge and the date you paid. If you are claiming on the grounds of low income, complete form HC5 – dental charges
You may also be able to get an HC5 from from your dentist, a Jobcentre Plus office or NHS hospital, or order one via the NHS Business Services Authority website or by phoning the NHS forms order line on 0845 610 1112.

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“Before I had my crowns fitted I was very self-conscious. I worried about how I looked when I smiled and would always have a closed tight lipped smile. After describing how my teeth made me feel, my dentist Sheva suggested I looked at having crowns fitted. She talked me through all the benefits of having them, as well as the procedure. She explained how they would be fitted, and discussed in depth the kind of treatment I would be having and how it would change my original tooth completely. I was never rushed to make my decision and I was allowed back for consultations with any questions I may have had. When I was happy with the model crowns, which were made by taking impressions of my teeth, I was treated with care and was put at ease. The work was done quickly and surprisingly quite pain free! Sheva and Chez would continually make sure I was ok throughout and stopped if I needed a quick break. Now I have a smile and no longer worry about how my teeth will look in pictures. I’ve got a big smile now and I’m very happy! Thank you to both!”

Miss Higgins