Dentist charges to rise 5% in England

Teeth Image copyright Thinkstock

Charges for NHS dental treatment in England will rise by 5% this year and next, the government has announced.

By 2017-18, a routine examination will cost more than £20, with more expensive procedures including crowns exceeding £240.

The government said the charges would affect "those who can afford it" and it was "protecting the most vulnerable".

But the British Dental Association said the rise was "unprecedented" and would damage the nation's teeth.

The changes will mean:

  • Band 1 treatments - including an examination, X-rays and a scale and polish - will rise from £18.80 to £19.70 in April and then to £20.60 in April 2017
  • Band 2 treatments - including fillings, root canals and extractions - will rise from £51.30 to £53.90 in April and then to £56.30 in April 2017
  • Band 3 treatments - including crowns, dentures and bridges - will rise from £222.50 to £233.70 in April and then to £244.30 in April 2017

In a written statement to Parliament, Health Minister Alistair Burt said: "We have taken the decision to uplift dental charges for those who can afford it, through a 5% increase this year and next.

"Dental charges remain an important contribution to the overall cost of dental services, first introduced in 1951, but we will keep protecting the most vulnerable within society."

Children, pregnant women and people on low incomes get free treatment.

But Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, from the British Dental Association, argued: "This unprecedented hike in dental charges will only serve to discourage the patients that are most in need of care.

"This money doesn't go to NHS dentists - they are being asked to play the role of tax collector, while our patients are singled out to subsidise the health service.

"For government these increases may be a source of easy money, but they will only undermine the relationship between patients and practitioners.

"Government has given patients another reason to avoid visiting their dentist."

Bills for dental treatment vary in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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