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600,000 patients a year attending their GP for dental problems

  • A blog looking at a recent article published by the British Dental Association about the state of dentistry.

    By Samantha Swaby

I recently read an article from the British Dental Association (BDA), that GPs are having to deal with 11,000 consultations a year for patients with dental problems due to increasing NHS charges for dentists.

The article

The BDA has advised that the cost of NHS charges are causing patients suffering with dental problems to seek assistance from their GP. Attending appointments with GPs are free, but GPs are not equipped to provide dental treatment. The BDA estimates these appointments cost the NHS over £26 million a year.

Dental Charges

As of 1 April 2016, dental charges increased by 5%, my colleague Steve Wake wrote a blog about this increase. When attending an NHS dentist, the treatment you receive is classified into ‘bands’ of treatment. There are three bands of treatment and the new charges for these bands are as follows:

For band 1 treatment, such as a clinical examination, x-rays, scaling & polishing, preventative dental work such as hygiene instruction, you will pay £19.70.

For band 2 treatment such as fillings, extractions, some surgical procedures you will pay £53.90.

For band 3 treatment such as Complex treatment which includes a laboratory element such as crowns you will pay £233.70.

The BDA’s general dental practice chair, Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, said:

Ministers insist the NHS will remain free at the point of use, but keep ramping up England’s dental charges. Already these inflated charges are pushing those who can’t pay towards overstretched GPs, who aren’t equipped to treat them. It’s bad for our patients, and it’s bad for the NHS.’

It still remains the position that children, pregnant women and people on a low income get free treatment. However, unfortunately some people are not even registered with an NHS practice, as they are unable to find a practice who takes on NHS patients.


GPs are not dentists and those who are suffering with dental problems need to see their dentist. This will also reduce the pressure on GPs who claim that they are already overstretched.

If you have concerns about dental treatment, please contact the Dental Negligence Team, who will be happy to assist.

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