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Free NHS dental treatment

Certain groups don't have to pay NHS dental treatment charges. 

You should always check with your dentist whether your treatment is private or NHS. If you're entitled to free NHS treatment and the treatment you receive is a mixture of NHS and private, you will still have to pay for the private treatment.

Age

You’re entitled to free NHS dental treatment if, when your treatment starts, you’re:

  • under 18
  • under 19 and in full time education

Benefits

Income-based benefits

You are automatically entitled to free NHS dental treatment if you’re included in award for:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

If you’re getting one of these benefits, your partner and any dependent young people under 20 are also entitled to free treatment.

You're also entitled to:

free NHS prescriptionsfree NHS sight testsfree NHS wigs and fabric supportshelp with the cost of glasses or contact lensesrefunds of necessary travel costs to receive NHS treatment

Use your award notice as proof that you’re entitled.

Contribution-based benefits

If you’re receiving contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance, you are not automatically entitled to free NHS dental treatment. However, you could apply for help through the NHS Low Income Scheme.

Pension Credits

You’re entitled to free NHS dental treatment if you or your partner gets:

  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit or
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit with Savings Credit.

You're also entitled to:

free NHS prescriptionsfree NHS sight testsfree NHS wigs and fabric supportshelp with the cost of glasses or contact lensesrefunds of necessary travel costs to receive NHS treatment

Use your award notice as proof that you’re entitled.

If you get Pension Credit Savings Credit on its own, you are not automatically entitled to free NHS dental treatment. However, you could apply for help through the NHS Low Income Scheme.

Universal Credit

If you’re getting Universal Credit, your entitlement to free NHS prescriptions depends on your earnings for the most recent assessment period. You’re entitled if your earnings during that period were:

  • £435 or less
  • £935 or less if your Universal Credit includes an element for either:
    • a child
    • limited capability for work

‘Most recent assessment period’ means the assessment period that ended immediately before the date you claim free NHS prescriptions. It runs for a calendar month.

If you claim Universal Credit as a couple, the earnings limit applies to the joint income of you and your partner.

If you meet these conditions, you're also entitled to:

free NHS prescriptionsfree NHS sight testsfree NHS wigs and fabric supportshelp with the cost of glasses or contact lensesrefunds of necessary travel costs to receive NHS treatment

Tax credits

You are entitled to free NHS prescriptions if your annual family income used to work out your tax credits is £15,276 or less and you receive either:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit paid together
  • Working Tax Credit including a disability element

If you meet these conditions, you will automatically receive an NHS tax credit exemption certificate.

NHS tax credit exemption certificates

Pregnant women and those who have had a baby in the last 12 months

You are entitled to free NHS dental treatment if, at the time you are accepted for your course of treatment, you are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months.

To prove your entitlement, you can use a:

  • MatB1 certificate
  • valid maternity exemption certificate
  • notification of birth form
  • birth certificate
  • stillbirth certificate

If you have a valid maternity exemption certificate, you’re also entitled to free NHS prescriptions.

Low income (including students and pensioners)

You’re entitled to free NHS dental treatment if you have applied to the NHS Low Income Scheme and received an HC2 certificate for full help with health costs.

HC2 certificates

If you have applied to the NHS Low Income Scheme and received an HC3 certificate for limited help with health costs, you may be entitled to help with the cost of your NHS dental treatment. Your certificate tells you how much you have to pay towards your charges.

HC3 certificates

War pensioners

You can claim money back for dental treatment, NHS travel costs, sight test, glasses or contact lenses if you receive a war pension and the treatment is for your accepted disability. Write to:

The Treatment Group
Veterans UK
Norcross
Blackpool
FY5 3WP

Or phone: 0808 1914218

You can also claim money back for NHS travel costs, sight tests, glasses or contact lenses if you receive a war pension and the treatment is for your accepted disability. You're entitled to free NHS prescriptions and NHS wigs and fabric supports if you have a war pension exemption certificate and the treatment relates to your accepted disability.

Don’t run the risk

It’s your own responsibility to check that you’re entitled before claiming free dental treatment. If you claim free treatment that you’re not entitled to, you could have to pay a penalty charge of up to £100.

If you’re not currently entitled to free NHS dental treatment

If you have a low income, you may qualify for free or reduced cost treatment through the NHS Low Income Scheme.