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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?

This blog will provide the necessary information for those asking these questions, whilst helping you to decide for yourself whether receiving emergency dental treatment on the NHS, or going private, is your best option.

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 means patients require  immediate care and attention in order to minimise risk of serious medical complications in the 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 thus important to know when it is necessary to go to hospital, for example in serious circumstances like highly severe pain associated with dental region, heavy bleeding or any severe injuries to the face, mouth or teeth.

How much does emergency dental treatment cost on the NHS?

The majority of UK dental practitioners will provide both NHS and private dental treatment. Before the course of treatment begins, it is vitally important that you are given a detailed plan in which you are wholly aware 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 are included here. This more severe form of treatment also includes such complicated procedures and laboratory work as bridges, plus crowns and dentures.

As if 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 pay the charge for the new course of treatment which you require.

What dental treatment is 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 and thus to obtain this treatment you will have to go through a private dental practitioner. Such 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 such a “cosmetic” procedure is likely to bring a variety of all-encompassing benefits for the individual.

How long will the NHS’ emergency treatment take?

After the initial emergency diagnosis, where 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 time frame and thus there is no guarantee of how quickly you will obtain treatment.

It is vital that your dentist leave you feeling properly informed and in the know prior to the beginning of any treatment – most notably regarding the clinical risks, benefits and costs associated with this.

if you decide that you no longer wish to proceed with a certain treatment option, then it is imperative to inform your dentist of this – just as they should tell you of any alterations to the treatment plan if their are any changes to your oral health after the first assessment.

Ultimately, if you deem that the treatment plan offered to you is not appropriate for your needs, then you can choose to have alternative treatment through a private means, where a more efficient time frame is likely to be guaranteed.

How to get emergency dental care in London

Do you require emergency dental care in London? Well, investing in the services of a 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 more urgent dental procedure or simply want a reliable, professional service to attend on a routinely 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 today.

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