Money Wellness
Image of a dentist looking inside someone's mouth. More funding made available for NHS dentists
category iconMoney Saver
calendar icon01 Mar 2024

Extra cash for dentists to take on more NHS patients

Extra cash for dentists to take on more NHS patients

Government frees up extra funding for more NHS dentist appointments. Find out how to get treatment here

Dentists will be given more money from today to take on new NHS patients.

The new patient premium will be paid to dentists who provide core NHS treatment such as examination, diagnosis, and treatment. Dentists will get either £15 or £50 depending on the level of care and treatment the patient requires.

The money is available for new patients who haven’t seen an NHS dentist in over two years and is being offered on top of what dentists currently receive for treating patients.

It has been made available so that more people can access an NHS dentist.

And follows a recent survey conducted by the BBC and British Dental Association that found nine in 10 NHS dental practices were not accepting new patients for treatment.

The survey also revealed that in a third of the UK’s 200 council areas, no dentists were taking on new adult NHS patients.

With eight in 10 not taking on children.

The lack of NHS dentists has left thousands of people suffering and in pain. Many have been forced to resort to DIY dentistry, with some using superglue to stick homemade teeth to gums or pulling out rotten gnashers themselves.  

Who’s entitled to free NHS dental treatment?

You do not have to pay for NHS dental services if you’re:

  • Under 18, or 19 and in full-time education
  • Pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months
  • Being treated in an NHS hospital and your treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist (but you may need to pay for any dentures or bridges)
  • Receiving low income benefits, or you’re under 20 and dependent on someone receiving low income benefits

What low income benefits entitle you to free NHS dental treatment?

You’re entitled to free NHS dental treatment if you or your spouse (including civil partner) receive:

  • Income support
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Pension credit guarantee credit
  • Universal credit (in certain circumstances)

Do you have a certificate to help with health costs?

You can receive free NHS dental treatment if you’re entitled to or named on:

  • A valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
  • A valid HC2 certificate – available to people on a low income
  • A valid maternity exemption certificate

People named on an NHS certificate for partial help with health costs (HC3) could also get help.

People on low income can include some students and pensioners.

You’ll be asked to show your dentist written proof that you don’t need to pay for all or part of your NHS treatment, and you’ll have to sign a form to confirm this.

Where can you find an NHS dentist?

To find an NHS dentist, visit Enter your postcode for a list of NHS dentists in your area.

You may find that when you click on a dentist they’re not accepting new NHS patients, or that they have not updated their information in the last 90 days.

If they have not updated their information, you should call the dental practice to find out if they’re taking on new patients. If they are, you might have to join a waiting list.

I can’t find a dentist that’s accepting new patients. What can I do?

If, after contacting several dental surgeries, you can’t find a dentist accepting NHS patients, call NHS England’s customer contact centre on 0300 311 2233 to see if they can help.

Why can’t I find an NHS dentist?

Dental care isn’t set up in the same way as GP care. This is why you don’t have to register with a dentist in the area you live.

Dental practices hold contracts for NHS patients with NHS England, and there are not enough dentists to cover NHS treatment for everyone. As a result, a dentist may have a free treatment slot (and be able to offer you a private appointment) but unable to fill this slot with NHS work, as they will not be paid to do so.

What if I’m in pain or have an emergency?

If you’re currently in pain or need emergency treatment, call NHS 111. If you’re in pain, you are entitled to see an emergency dentist.

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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