If you are in the middle of a dental emergency, probably the last thing on your mind is the emergency dental charges that you might incur. It is important to remember, however, that NHS emergency dental charges are going to be a lot lower than the dental charges made by a private emergency dentist.
Exemption from emergency dental charges
If you need to visit an NHS emergency dentist for an avulsed (knocked out) tooth, a severe abscess, or uncontrollable bleeding after a tooth extraction or other dental treatment, you will not need to pay any emergency dental charges if you are normally exempt from dental charges. These conditions will apply if you are:
Under 16 years old
In full time education at 6th form college or university
You are a pregnant woman, or you have had a baby in the last year
You are in receipt of some state benefits
NHS emergency dental charges
If you are not exempt but you obtain emergency dental treatment from an NHS dentist or an emergency dental clinic or hospital department that offers out-of-hours NHS dental treatment, you are liable for NHS dental charges.
NHS dental charges are separated into 3 main bands:
Band 1: for the dental charge of £17.00 you can obtain a dental examination and diagnosis of your specific problem, along with advice from the emergency dentist. This is the standard band of dental charges and also includes any plans for future dental treatment, scaling and polishing, and any X-rays that are necessary. NHS dental charges in this band are for one course of treatment and also cover any treatment necessary as part of a dental emergency.
Band 2: the slightly higher dental charge of £47.00 provides everything that comes under Band 1 and, in addition, any fillings, tooth extractions, and root canal procedures that are necessary.
Band 3: This is not usually applicable to emergency dental charges. It covers planned dental procedures such as making and fitting dentures, fitting bridges, and applying crowns to protect teeth with problems.
The normal time limit that is used to define a course of treatment is 2 months, but any emergency dental charges within that time are not covered. So if you are in the care of an NHS dentist but you then knock out a tooth or develop an abscess within the two month period, you will still need to pay emergency dental charges of £17.00.
Emergency dental charges for out-or-hours treatment
If you experience a dental emergency out of normal working hours, at a weekend, or on a public or bank holiday, you will need to visit an emergency dentist. This will not incur any extra emergency dental charges compared to visiting an emergency dental clinic or hospital during working hours.
When emergency dental charges do not apply
There are some emergencies when a dentist will treat you and make no charge. One is if you have had a tooth extraction or other procedure, you leave your dental surgery and you later find you have bleeding that will not stop. This is a clear dental emergency, and if stopping the bleeding is the only treatment that you need, you will not have to pay emergency dental charges.
When do you need to pay emergency dental charges?
Most emergency dentist and out-of hours dentists will want you to pay at the time of your treatment, unless you can prove you are exempt from NHS dental charges in general, so remember to take some form of payment with you when you have your treatment.
Private and commercial emergency dental charges
These are likely to exceed NHS emergency dental charges but the amount that you can expect to pay will vary according to the area of the country where you obtain treatment, and the charges set by individual dentists.
One emergency dentist offering a private dental service quoted a maximum fee of £30 for emergency dental charges for pain relief only. Another quoted maximum emergency dental charges of £120, no matter what the scope of emergency dental treatment required.
If you need an avulsed tooth fixed back in place, an abscess drained or a root canal treatment, you can expect to pay much more. Again, cost might not be your priority at the time, but it is a good idea to try to obtain a quotation for the treatment when discussing your emergency dental care: you can hardly refuse, but at least you will be better informed.
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