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Free NHS dental treatment or help with health costs

You do not have to pay for NHS dental treatment if, when the treatment starts, you are:

• aged under 18
• under 19 and receiving full-time education
• pregnant or a mother who has had a baby in the previous 12 months
• staying in an NHS hospital and your treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist
• an NHS Hospital Dental Service outpatient (however, you may have to pay for your dentures or bridges).

You also do not have to pay if, when the treatment starts, or when you are asked to pay:

  • You are included in an award of

    • Income Support
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Pension Credit guarantee credit


    • you are named on a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate, or you are entitled to an NHS tax credit exemption certificate
    • you are named on a valid HC2 certificate

For further information on NHS dental services and dental charges, see the dental services section of the NHS Choices website (, or ask your dentist or primary care trust for help.

You will not be exempt from paying if you receive Incapacity Benefit, contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance, contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Council Tax Benefit, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit savings credit, when paid on their own. Medical conditions do not exempt patients from payment for dental treatment.

You will be asked to show your dentist written proof that you do not have to pay for all or part of your NHS treatment. You will also be asked to sign a form to confirm that you do not have to pay. If your name is on a valid HC3 certificate, you may not have to pay for all your treatment. Checks are made on free and reduced cost treatment claims. If you say you have the right to free treatment when you do not, you may incur a penalty charge.

What treatments should I expect to be provided under the NHS?

You will be able to have all treatment provided under the NHS that your dentist feels is clinically necessary in order to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy. If your dentists says that you need a particular type of treatment, you should not be asked to pay for it privately.

If you are moving to live in another area of the country soon, you may want to wait until you arrive in the new area before starting treatment. If you are unable to complete a course of treatment that has already been started before you move, speak to your dentist. The primary care trust (PCT) responsible for your new area will help you to find another NHS dentist if you are having difficulty.

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