However, it all depends on your circumstances, where you live and your income – here’s everything you need to know.
If I get free prescriptions, can I get free dental care?
The rules around who gets free dental care in the UK are different to those around free prescriptions, so it’s best not to assume you can go to the dentist for free, even if you don’t pay for medicines.
However, the circumstances that entitle you to free prescriptions may also qualify you for free or discounted dental care. So it’s worth researching what you’re qualified for.
Who is entitled to free dental care from the NHS?
Children under 18 and those under 19 in full-time education are not required to pay for NHS dental services. If you are pregnant or have given birth in the past 12 months, you are also entitled to free dental care.
Anyone treated by the hospital dentist while in an NHS hospital will also not have to pay, although you may have to pay for any dentures or bridges that are required.
If you are on a low income or under the age of 20 and are dependent on someone receiving a low-income benefit, you are eligible for free NHS dental treatment. Think of income support, income-related work and social assistance benefit, income-related benefit for job seekers, pension discount, guarantee discount and, in certain cases, universal credits.
Can I get free dental care on the NHS Low Income Scheme?
The NHS Low Income Scheme issues certificates entitling the holder to free treatment or some assistance towards the cost of treatment. These are based on your income, savings and assets. If you have a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate or a valid HC2 certificate you will get free dental treatment. If you are on a valid HC3 certificate, you can get partial assistance.
Are there free dental care programs for the over 60s?
If you live in Wales and are over 60, you can have free dental examinations. However, any treatment recommended as a result of the appointment will be charged at the normal price. Elsewhere in the UK, people over 60 do have to pay for their dental care, but may be entitled to assistance for any of the other reasons mentioned above.
What happens if I am not eligible for free dental care?
Even if you don’t qualify for free dental care, the cost of NHS treatment is fixed and the same in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. So if you have to pay for dental care, rest assured that the cost will be the same no matter where you live in the UK.
New standard prices came into effect early this year, ranging from £25.80 for basic examinations and diagnoses to a maximum of £306.80 for more complex procedures