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The dentist - I thought it was free?

(21 Posts)
Teakind Thu 19-Jan-17 20:52:29


I had a dental check up today but was told he had already used his NHS funding for the next 6 months so I would have to pay. For background, I've been a patient there since I was at school but they switched me from NHS to private when I turned 18.

Is that right? I thought it was free as standard for pregnant women.

Thanks in advance for any insights!

Figgygal Thu 19-Jan-17 20:54:43

Not sure Do you have a maternity excemption card? Surely if so he claims back from NHS the cost

LostInMess Thu 19-Jan-17 20:54:48

It is free if you're pregnant but you need a maternity exemption certificate - midwife
can provide the form.

It's also only free if using an NHS dentist - this should have been explained to you before treatment.

PotteringAlong Thu 19-Jan-17 20:55:30

Have you got your maternity exemption card and you are an NHS patient? Then yes, it's free.

TyneTeas Thu 19-Jan-17 20:55:49

Info here

PotteringAlong Thu 19-Jan-17 20:56:16

Just re-read your post and realised you're not an NHS patient. So no, not free.

Buttwing Thu 19-Jan-17 20:56:35

Yes this can happen if you are trying to have nhs treatment with a private dentist. I was told to cancel my children's appointment and rebook a month later as they had run out of funding and it would be starting again the following month.

TeaBelle Thu 19-Jan-17 20:56:39

Private treatment is not free during pregnanct

MollyRedskirts Thu 19-Jan-17 20:58:42

He's seen you as a private patient, not NHS, so you will have to pay. He also should have explained this clearly before starting treatment.

GreenGoblin0 Thu 19-Jan-17 21:06:33

molly if she has been registered as a private patient since she was 18 not sure it's up to the dentist to explain she will have to pay now she's pregnant.

MollyRedskirts Thu 19-Jan-17 21:43:19

I missed that part, sorry!

Yes, you're right.

Teakind Thu 19-Jan-17 21:53:36

Thank you. I do have an exemption certificate.

There doesn't seem to be any dentists around here who are taking on NHS patients unfortunately. The practice I go to does both, it's frustrating they switched me over years ago!

Teakind Thu 19-Jan-17 21:59:16

I did ask the receptionist when I booked my appointment and she said I'd need to speak to the dentist when I saw him.

starfishmummy Thu 19-Jan-17 22:36:14

I was at private practice. When I was pregnant the dentist just switched me to nhs.

user1484843368 Fri 20-Jan-17 06:48:09

I think you could challenge this, but it depends if you want to raise problems with a practice that you have been going to for so long. Perhaps for your next appointment ask the rules on how you can be eligible via the practice?

The ombudsman service says:

"Certain groups of people get free dental care, including those under 18, or under 19 and in full time education, pregnant women, or those entitled to certain income-related benefits. The responsibility for correctly filling in exemption from charges forms rests solely with the patient." Taken from this page -

You're not alone, this poor woman had a nightmare:

mirokarikovo Fri 20-Jan-17 07:29:38

If a dentist takes both NHS and private patients there are completely different structures for the different patients. NHS patients who are non exempt adults still pay but pay NHS charges. Unfortunately the time to do anything about this was back when you were 18. He ought to have allowed you to stay registered as NHS really - or failing that you could have hunted for an NHS dentist sooner. It's really important that you get good dentistry during pregnancy and for the next year because making all those brilliant baby bones inside you can leech the calcium out of your teeth and leave you vulnerable to more serious teeth problems.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Fri 20-Jan-17 07:51:52

Basically dentists contract with the NHS to do certain amounts if UDAs (units if dental activity) per year.

Once they have fulfilled that, they are not obliged to do more NHS work and they won't be paid for it.

Did the dentist explain this pre check up/treatment? And did you still agree to go ahead? If so, no cause for complaint. If not, then do complain, they will probably refund the charge

scaevola Fri 20-Jan-17 07:55:01

If the dentist practice still has a private contract, they may be able to switch you in to it.

If it's a wholly private practice, then you will either have to pay or find a different practice.

Tini17 Fri 20-Jan-17 08:55:52

Oh dear sad
Dental contracts re-set on 1st April so I'd go to the practice and ask to be treated under NHS if needed once they have their quote of UDAs for next year back? Worth a try.

If private treatment and the fact you'll have to pay even if pregnant weren't explained properly, you can complain to practice or NHS England. It is the most common cause for complaint.

Ps: dentists in England do not have a 'registration' system, unlike GPs, where you register based on where you live. You go for 'courses of treatment' but there isn't a 'list' of patients they keep although some like to say they do.

Teakind Fri 20-Jan-17 09:38:38

Thanks all. The dentist did explain when I saw him that I would have to pay but it would be handy if the receptionist could have explained on the phone when I asked about NHS funding now that I'm pregnant.

I don't want to complain I just wanted to be clear on what the rules were. I don't know if it's the same across the country but there seems to be a real shortage of dentists who can still take on NHS patients. Perhaps nievely I thought there might be a separate budget for pregnant women as it's definitely promoted as free (it should have 'subject to availability' alongside it smile )

MouseLove Fri 20-Jan-17 10:45:03

I'm private and pay a monthly fee for the bloody privilege. It's a pain but no, it's not free when you become pregnant. Prescriptions are though!! Bonus lol

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