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NHS Dental Treatment Costs

NHS prices are set by the Scottish government and are the same for every NHS dentist in Scotland.


From 1 November 2023, if you pay for your NHS dental treatment you may notice an increase in treatment charges. These increases are necessary to ensure that we are able to continue to provide NHS dental services and reflect the increase in cost of delivering the care required for patients.

Everyone in Scotland is entitled to free NHS dental examinations (including review examinations). For some patients all treatment is completely free.

Following a dental examination, the dentist will advise you of any treatment you require and the likely cost. They must also provide an itemised account, if requested.

As before, NHS patients who pay for their treatment pay 80% of the treatment costs. This continues to be capped at a maximum of £384 per course of treatment. Any costs over this maximum continues to be fully subsidised by the NHS. You will never pay more than £384 per course of treatment. The vast majority of patients will pay much less than this cost.

A dentist can ask for payment in advance. They can also charge a patient if they fail to attend for an appointment without giving due notice.

Who gets free treatment on the NHS?

NHS treatment is free for:

  • everyone aged under 26

  • people who are pregnant or have given birth in the last 12 months

  • those with certificated exemption from patient charge because of income or receipt of certain benefits

If you are exempt from patient charges during a course of treatment, tell the dentist and ensure that you bring the evidence with you.

NHS Low Income Scheme

Others may be entitled to dental treatment at a reduced cost through the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS). The LIS helps towards some or all of the cost of NHS patient charges for those who are not automatically entitled to free treatment, who may have difficulty in paying. Help under the scheme is income-related and based on an assessment of each person’s ability to pay.

Read our help with health costs guide to find out if you are eligible for free or reduced cost NHS dental treatment.

What is prior approval?

Your dentist may inform you that they have to apply for prior approval before your treatment can be started. Dentists are required to seek approval from the NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) Practitioner Services, for certain treatments and/or treatment plans of high value. This process may take a little time and delay your treatment slightly.

Are all treatments available on the NHS?

Not all clinical procedures performed by dentists are available on the NHS. Procedures which are cosmetic or aesthetic in nature are usually only available privately. For example, white fillings, tooth whitening or dental implants.

Your dentist will be able to explain what treatment is and isn’t allowed on the NHS. If, for example, you wish to mix NHS and private treatment on the one tooth, such as an NHS root canal treatment with a private white filling, then this is allowed. Your dentist can provide you with an estimate of costs involved.

The following table sets out patient charges for common treatment items. The overall NHS fee paid will vary from patient to patient depending on the overall treatment plan require, but you will never pay more than £384 for a course of treatment.

Most patients with good oral health would require an examination, X-rays every so often and preventive advice.

Example Treatment Costs

Unless you are in one of the groups entitled to free NHS dental  treatment or help with the cost you will require to pay 80% of the cost  of your NHS dental treatment up to a maximum of £384 per course of  treatment.

Examples of costs for some types of NHS treatment are shown in the table below. Fees are as of 1st Nov 2023.

Please note that NHS fee structure is complex and varies considerably from patient to patient depending of the treatment required.

Check-up (examination) and prevention
Check-up (examination)
Check-up and preventive advice (which can include a scale and polish if deemed necessary)
Two small X-rays
One large X-ray of teeth and jaws
Gum disease treatment
Course of oral hygiene and deep gum cleaning (over 1 – 4 separate appointments)
£32.24 to £93.32
Small white filling (front tooth)
Small metal filling (back tooth)
Large metal filling (back tooth)
Root canal treatment
Root canal treatment
£94.96 to £153.48
Additional fee for a re-root canal treatment
Single Crown (for those 17 years or over only)
£149.24 to £185.72
Simple extraction (per tooth)
Surgical / complex extraction (per tooth)
£55.12 to £75.48
Dentures (false teeth)
Complete upper and lower set of dentures
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