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Published on: Private dentists

NHS VS Private Dentistry: Can I Get Emergency Dental Treatment on the NHS?

Dentistry is one of the few services on the NHS which require patients to pay a contribution towards the cost of their care. Therefore, for those who are experiencing what is believed to be a dental emergency, some of the first questions which are likely to come up are:

  • Can I get urgent dental treatment with the NHS?
  • How much will urgent dental treatment cost with the NHS?
  • How much time is it going to take to get treated on the NHS?

And, with a two-year waiting time for NHS dental appointments, this has triggered an increasing number of patients to switch to private dental care instead. 

In this guide, we provide the necessary information for those looking to compare NHS to private, whilst helping you to decide for yourself whether receiving dental treatment on the NHS or going private, is your best option.

NHS VS Private Dentistry

NHS or Private Dentist

What is the difference between NHS and private dental care? NHS dentistry might seem like the most obvious choice, after all, it’s usually considered more accessible and affordable, however, this isn’t always the case.

The difference between NHS and private dentistry is that while there are long delays with booking NHS dental appointments, private dental appointments are very quick to book with short waiting times, with some clinics offering appointments within a matter of days or hours, depending on whether or not you have a dental emergency. However, NHS dental appointments usually need to be booked several weeks or months in advance.

Treatments at an NHS dentist are very limited, meaning that you won’t have much selection when it comes to choosing an appointment. In comparison, private dental clinics provide a wide selection of dental treatments and cosmetic dentistry treatments that aren’t available with an NHS dentist.

And, best of all, private dentists provide the ultimate high-quality service and care, with more experience, knowledge and training than an NHS dentist, combined with the latest dentistry facilities for the best dental care.

NHS dental appointments are also known to be rushed and delayed, whereas private dentists provide longer appointment times and therefore minimal waiting times and disruption to your day.

With dental emergencies, it’s recommended to act fast in order to reduce the costs of your treatment, prevent further problems from arising and reduce the pain if you are suffering. This is why it’s better to visit a private dentist for emergency care as they are able to provide you with an appointment much sooner, which can, potentially, save you a lot of money in the long run and can work out as more affordable compared to NHS dental care.

Dental Treatment Not Available on the NHS

Any cosmetic treatments which are not deemed clinically necessary or essential for the maintenance of good health will not be available through the NHS. For example, teeth whitening is not deemed by the NHS to be clinically essential, meaning that you will need to obtain this treatment through a private dental practitioner. 

Cosmetic procedures are often sought by individuals who find that having stained or damaged teeth is damaging to their psychological or social well being and thus the benefits of cosmetic procedures are likely to bring a variety of all-encompassing benefits for the patient.

How Much Does a Private Dentist Cost?

How much is private dental care? If you require dental treatment or have found cosmetic dentistry treatment that you would like, we do recommend taking a look at our dental fees page to view our prices.

Our dental treatment aims to be affordable, which is why we provide flexible payment options to make your treatment more affordable with the private dentist costs spread out.

We also offer Denplan Essentials, an affordable maintenance plan that gives you an exclusive discount of 15% on most dental treatments, two dental examinations, two dental hygiene visits, and preventative dental advice and therapy.

Dental Emergencies

What Is a Dental Emergency?

The two most common categories which are likely to result in patients being deemed to require emergency dental care are visible damage to the teeth and/or mouth, or sudden severe pain stemming from in or around the mouth. 

Ultimately, any issues which require patients to receive immediate care and attention in order to minimise the risk of serious medical complications (or to prevent long-term complications to their dental health) are likely to be deemed a dental emergency.

It is imperative to distinguish, however, from dental-related incidents which are more suited to the prompt and appropriate care of accident and emergency (A&E). It is therefore important to know when it is necessary to go to a hospital, for example, in serious circumstances, like highly severe pain associated with the dental region, heavy bleeding or any severe injuries to the face, mouth or teeth.

How Much Does Emergency Dental Treatment Cost on the NHS?

Before the course of treatment begins, it is vitally important that you are given a detailed plan in which you are wholly aware of whether you are paying for NHS treatment, private treatment or a combination of both.

The type of procedure or dental care you need to have done will ultimately be the biggest factor in defining how much money you are going to have to pay whilst going through the NHS. 

Emergency dental treatment, generally, costs £22.70 – covering any emergency care in a primary care NHS dental practitioners (e.g. temporary fillings or minor pain relief). There are three major bands of NHS emergency dental treatment, however, all of which come with their own price bracket:

  • Band 1 treatment (£22.70): This cost includes a formal consultation, examination, diagnosis (e.g. X-rays) and further advice on how you can prevent problems arising in the future. Also, if deemed clinically necessary by the dental practitioner, a scale and polish may be carried out as part of this price (e.g. the application of fluoride varnish or fissure sealant).
  • Band 2 treatment (£62.10): Everything listed in the first band is also included in the course of this treatment. Alongside this, any further treatment which is needed (e.g. fillings, root canal work or removal of teeth) is included. However, more complex and serious procedures than this are not included in this band and are only covered by band 3 of treatment.
  • Band 3 treatment (£269.30): Once again, everything covered in Bands 1 and 2 is included here. This more severe form of treatment also includes such complicated procedures and laboratory work as bridges, plus crowns and dentures.

As is often the case, if you are required to come back for further treatment, then this may be considered a separate course of “non-urgent” treatment. Therefore, you will most likely have to also pay the charge for the new course of treatment that you require.

How Long Will the NHS’ Emergency Treatment Take?

After the initial emergency diagnosis and when emergency dental treatment is deemed clinically necessary, then an NHS dentist will offer you a treatment option and plan which they deem appropriate. 

However, depending on the resources, current priorities and general practice of that particular dentist, the waiting list could vary in the time frame, with no guarantee of how quickly you will obtain treatment. This is why many patients experiencing a dental emergency will opt for private care to prevent the problem from worsening and for treatment to be given within 24 hours, or, in some cases, the very same day.

How to Get Emergency Dental Care in London

Do you require emergency dental care in London? Well, investing in the services of reliable, professional and private dental practitioners, like Hermes Dentist London, will ensure that you receive expert care as efficiently as possible. 

We are an award-winning dental clinic with experience and a proven track record within the industry. Our dental practitioners are on hand to leave you in no doubt that you are receiving a friendly and impeccable service every time.

If you require a more urgent dental procedure or simply want a reliable, professional service to attend on a routine basis, then why not get in contact today? One of our friendly, expert team would love to hear from you and get you on track to achieving the smile of your dreams.

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