The Differences Between Private & NHS Dentists The Differences Between Private & NHS Dentists

The Differences Between Private & NHS Dentists

Posted: 21st May

By: Neil Woodhouse

When choosing a dentist, for most of us, the main factor is ensuring we receive high-quality care. Both NHS and private dentists offer routine check-ups and follow-up treatment, but there are several key distinctions between the two. 

So what do you need to know when looking into the type of dental care you go for? We’ve summerised 7 key differences to weigh before deciding on your dental care provider.

1- Cost of treatment

Unlike other NHS services, dentistry is not free for everyone. Instead, it’s subsidised, meaning patients typically pay for services such as check-ups, fillings, and emergency care. Fees are categorised into three bands, ranging from £25.80 to £306.80.

Private dental care may have higher costs compared to NHS services, but this is dependent on the type of treatment needed and location of the practice. You can find out more about NEYO’s prices and payment options on our fees page.

2- Eligibility for treatment

NHS dental services are accessible to all UK residents for treatments essential to oral health. Certain groups are eligible for free NHS dental care, such as individuals under 18, those under 19 in full-time education, and those meeting specific NHS exemption criteria, including pregnant women and new mothers who gave birth within the last year.

Orthodontic treatment is available on the NHS to some under 18s who fulfill certain criteria measured using the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN). Wait times for NHS orthodontics can be 1-2 years as the NHS caps the number of patients each practice can each year.

Private dental care is available to anyone without the need for contracts, memberships, or insurance. Simply enquire with NEYO or your local dentist about becoming a patient.

3- Length of appointment

Typically, NHS dental check-ups last around 10-15 minutes on average, though this duration may extend if treatment is necessary. Due to targets, these timings can be tight, meaning you may end up feeling rushed in your appointment. Other services like hygiene appointments and treatments vary in time length.

Private dental check-ups generally allow for more time, often spanning 20 to 30 and are more tailored to individual needs.

4- Services available

Typically, private dentists can offer a wider range of treatment options, have more flexibility in offering treatments not covered by NHS funding, and can provide a wider array of choices to patients.

NHS dentists prioritise care based on clinical necessity, focusing on maintaining the health of your teeth, mouth, and gums. Unlike private dental care, the NHS does not cover cosmetic treatments.

NHS dental services cover routine check-ups and provide treatments for abscesses, wisdom tooth extractions, fillings, root canal therapy, and prosthetic services like dentures, crowns, and bridges.

Orthodontic treatments, such as braces, may be available under the NHS if specific criteria are met, typically requiring medical justification.

Private dental care mirrors the services offered by NHS dentists but does not have the priotitisation and criteria for treatment that you may find with an NHS dentist. Cosmetic and aesthetic procedures, aimed at enhancing the appearance of your teeth also tend to be available at private practices. These treatments encompass teeth whitening, composite bonding, porcelain veneers, and various orthodontic options, including invisible braces.

Availability of appointments

Securing a spot with an NHS dentist can be challenging. The availability of NHS appointments is limited, and with the overwhelming demand for NHS dentists getting an appointment when you actually need one can be extremely difficult. Long waiting lists for treatments and delays in dental appointments have unfortunately become commonplace in NHS dentistry.

In contrast, private dental practices typically offer immediate or next-day appointments, along with a broader selection of appointment times, including evenings and weekends. Very rarely are there waiting lists for private dental appointments, meaning you can be seen at a time that suits you and as soon as you need treatment.

Quality of treatment

Both NHS and private dentists are extensively trained and experienced professionals. Regardless of your choice between NHS or private dental care, you can expect a high-quality treatment.

Nevertheless, private dentists often have the flexibility to allocate more time for your appointments, allowing for a more comprehensive check-up. This extra time enables your dentist to thoroughly explain treatment options and address any questions or concerns you may have.

Consistency of care

Consistency in seeing the same dentist is preferred for both NHS and private patients. However, with NHS treatment, continuity of care isn’t always assured due to appointment availability issues. 

Private dentists typically offer easier appointment scheduling, allowing patients to choose their preferred dentist. This can help build a stronger patient-dentist relationship and ensures continuity of care over time. Get to know the team at NEYO and staff that will help make your appointments as enjoyable as possible on our team page.

NHS vs. Private dentists

So the main differences between private and NHS dentists that you should take into account when deciding your dental care are summerised below.

NHS vs. Private dentists

Press & Media

Latest Articles & Features

We use cookies to improve the performance of our site.