Published on 7th September 2016 by Roya

Whilst the majority of patients visiting their dentist will pay a contribution to their treatment, private dentistry usually comes with a heftier price tag.

So how are they different? Well the differences between private and NHS dentistry are not always clear cut but this guide will give you an overview of some of the main key differences.

Treatment Options:

NHS vs private dentistry
NHS vs private dentistry

Dentists working within the NHS are restricted by NHS guidelines as to what treatment they are able to offer their patients. Whilst white fillings are used in the NHS, this is not always the case as they are more time consuming to place.

However, patients paying for private treatment can pay extra and request a white filling if it is appropriate for the dental decay being treated. Additionally, private dentists are able to offer options such as veneers and implants to their patients, currently on the NHS these are only offered in a rare number of circumstances.

Cosmetic Dentistry:

NHS vs private dentistry - whitenening
NHS vs private dentistry – whitenening

Any dental treatment that is considered to be purely aesthetic will not be covered by the NHS. This includes orthodontics/braces in those who do not fit the inclusion criteria outlined by the NHS guidelines.

Additionally, treatments such as whitening, veneers or non-fixed braces will not be covered by the NHS. This is because the NHS will only pay for necessary dental treatment that affects oral health rather than appearance. For this reason all cosmetic dentistry is performed by private dentists.


NHS vs private dentistry - time
NHS vs private dentistry – time

NHS dentists are pushed to meet targets and quotas set by the government. This means that often they have less time available for appointments and they very rarely operate during out of hours.

Private dentists may work during the evenings or weekends to meet patient need. Additionally, they are financially incentivised to treat patients with more complex care needs so may go beyond providing just the basic treatment to stabilise oral health.

Equipment, Materials and Technology:

NHS vs private dentistry - equipment costs
NHS vs private dentistry – equipment costs

Private dentists might be able to offer the latest in dental technology such as 3D scanners to print a crown or scanners to take an electronic impression of the teeth. They are not restricted by the NHS budget so they are able to purchase new technology that they deem to be useful in practice. This extends to the type of filling material they prefer to use or the burrs they use in their drills.

However, paying more to see a private dentist does not always been you will be receiving superior treatment. It is not compulsory for a dentist to undergo any additional training to practice privately. Therefore, it is important to ask around and check the qualifications of your dentist if you are considering private dental treatment.

Uploaded by Joelle on 7 September 2016


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