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Free dental care

Free dental care

The idea of free dental care in this day and age might seem like a pipe dream, but it’s still available if you know where to look.

Going to the dentist is a pretty nerve-racking experience as it is, but with rising dental costs it’s getting that little bit scarier. To make the whole process less painful – and keep those dazzling smiles intact – we’ve come up with some top tips on how to get free dental treatment.

Do you qualify for free dental care on the NHS?

There are lots of people in the UK who actually qualify for free dental care.

moneymagpie_Free dental care_dentistPeople under 18 – and 18-year-olds still in full-time education – are all eligible. If you live in Scotland, you can get free dental check-ups whatever age you are. And if you live in Wales and are under 25 or over 60, you qualify too.

You’ll also get free treatment if you’re:

  • Pregnant, or have had a baby in the last 12 months, and you still hold a valid maternity exemption certificate (ask your GP for yours)
  • Getting Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or the guarantee credit of Pension Credit. This means that your partner will also be entitled to free treatment
  • Receiving Working Tax Credit and/or Child Tax Credit
  • Named on a valid HC2 certificate
  • Entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
  • A prisoner!

Now, we’re definitely not recommending that you go to prison just for the free dental care – and if a move to Scotland isn’t on your top ten list of things to do, then fear not.

There are other ways to get free dental treatment.

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Try student dentists for free dental treatment

moneymagpie_Free dental care_teethThis may be a pretty scary concept, but it’s actually a great way to get free dental care and help out the dentists of tomorrow.

And don’t worry – while they’re not fully qualified, they’re always supervised by someone who’s trained and is there to help at any point.

With student dentists, however, there are a few things to bear in mind. Because the students are training, they won’t be as quick as a trained dentist, so it will take more time to complete any complicated procedures.

In addition, you may need dental treatment that isn’t suitable for training purposes, so you wouldn’t be able to get it free. And student clinics do usually require that you aren’t registered with another dentist.

On the plus side, clinics used for training students are usually situated close to the university buildings, so tend to be in central, easy-to-access locations.

Unfortunately, there are only a handful of universities that offer dentistry as a degree, but if you live near Glasgow, King’s College London, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield, Southend or the Peninsula Dental School in Devon, you could be in luck.

Here are some need-to-know details for each institution:

Glasgow Dental School often require patients to help with the training of their students.

You have to be able to attend appointments during working hours, but as long as you’ve got the time then this is a great way to get your dental treatment for free.

To apply, call the centre on 0141 330 2000. They’ll send you a form to complete to check that you’re suitable for undergraduate treatment.

Appointments for basic treatment at King’s Dental Institute are available on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Once you’ve had your basic check-up, you can book further treatment if it’s necessary. The office opens at 9am – and to up your chances of getting an appointment, you should aim to get there between 8.30 and 8.45.

Leeds Dental Institute is often looking for volunteers to help them train dentists.

The good news is that even if you have your own dentist you can use this service, providing your dentist recommends you to register.

Simply log on to their website and complete the simple registration process. Just fill in a few details and they’ll put you on their waiting list. You then have to go for an assessment visit, which lasts about 15 minutes. This is just to establish whether or not you’re suitable for treatment.

The treatments they offer include scaling and polishing, fillings, crowns, bridges and veneers.

Liverpool University Dental Hospital offers free treatment for people requiring fillings, gum treatments, crowns and dentures.

moneymagpie_Free dental care_dental-bracesYou start by having an assessment visit, which shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes, and then, if you’re a suitable candidate, your appointment will be made.

Assessment appointments happen once a month. To make yours, pick up an application form from the dental hospital. You can fill it in while you’re there to save you another trip.

To sign up for free dental care at Newcastle University Dental Hospital, check the website as they receive a large volume of applications and can’t always offer free treatment.

If you’re living in Sheffield, the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital offers great free treatment for patients.

Situated next to the University of Sheffield and the Royal Hallamshire Hospital on Wellesley Road, this clinic offers a range of treatments including fillings, crowns and veneers.

To be put on the waiting list, simply fill in this form, send it off and wait for your appointment to come in the post.

Your appointment will be for an assessment where they’ll decide if you need further treatment. They’ll also decide on your future dentist, depending on how complicated your treatment is going to be.

moneymagpie_Free dental care_dental-mirrorBarts and The London Academic Dental Clinic (opposite Southend train station) offers a really wide range of treatments from simple check-ups and fillings to bridges and crowns.

To register, you can either drop into the clinic and speak to the friendly people on the reception desk, call 01702 328383 or visit the website and scroll to the bottom of the page for more information.

The Peninsula Dental School is situated in Heavitree Hospital and is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays in term time (October to June).

You can get free check-ups, as well as a free scale and polish. To make your appointment, call 01392 405350.

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Check you’re not already covered

Lots of companies now offer dental cover for their employees as part of their benefits package – so check whether you’re already entitled to this before you pay for any treatment.

Finally, remember that your partner’s employer may cover them and possibly even you, so get them to check. Someone else paying for your trip to the dentist may make it that much easier to go!

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31 responses to “Free dental care”

  1. Sharon says:

    I haven’t been to the dentist in about 5 years! I want to go with someone I feel comfortable with , I am missing 3 teeth, I hate it as I have no confidence at all. And it all seems to expensive can you give me any advice? I’m from London.

  2. Claire Thompson says:

    I have dreadful teeth most have crumbled away and I have got to the stage where I am thinking I need them all out and a full set of dentures. Some might be able to be saved but who knows? Willing to be a students project but think I would like to be asleep for most of my treatment. Live in Liverpool area.

  3. Kief says:

    Hi, dose anybody know the contact number for the dental collage in southend, please.

  4. Kristina B.@Full Dental Coverage says:

    Good to know. Few years ago I had the opportunity of taking care of my teeth on a school and I must tell you, it was the best service I was given so far. Your article just opened my horizons for some new places to visit soon.:)

  5. shaz khan says:

    Hi my son is 3 he has really bad tooth decay his teeth have got yellow and black marks on his front 4 teeth. They were getting crumbled away day by day. I took him to private dentist and they did filling on front four teeth with out removing the bacteria as my son wouldn’t stay still. i’m really worried as the bacteria wasn’t removed will this effect his permanent teeth?

  6. Dr John says:

    As a practicing dentist in England, and having taken in the many comments and reactions to this article, I`d just like to share the following.
    I have a FREE download on my site, giving hints and tips on to `avoid the dentist`, including patient`s rights etc. This is not about selling my services, in fact, there is no connection to my practice. This is just free stuff that people need to know.
    So, go to toothacademy. and get some help from someone who is trying to `beat the system`.

  7. T.A says:

    Hi,I did brace in my country and I have brace now,can I Do again and for free?

  8. Neelz says:

    A slight correction on the King’s College Dental Institute. It is not as competitive as is written here. If you are having any dental problems, are not registered to a dentist, are available at 9am or 1:30pm on weekdays for half a day, then you may want to consider being seen by a dental student. Assessments by dental students are available monday, tuesday, thursday and fridays. All you have to do is put in a self-referral form and they will soon allocate you to a student. However, it is worth noting that only basic treatment is provided including simple fillings, dentures, simple crowns and bridges and simple root fillings.
    Though student care is free, you are not paying with your money, but with your time. Yes it may take longer, however they are under full supervision of highly qualified dental clinical teachers with years of experience.
    It’s a two way deal, you help them with their training and they give you free dental

  9. Jay says:

    Lovely jubbley.

  10. lynda sebire says:

    I have a fractured tooth and have been told that it should come out. do not want to lose a molar but have no money even for the extraction. I live in leeds but cannot access dental hospital website to see if there is a way of getting it sorted free. Can any one help me as its the final straw and my back is feeling pretty fragile right now ?

  11. michelle wilson says:

    i’m a 45 year old single parent. i make less than 20,000 a year. i need help in getting my mouth fixed. i am missing teeth and my teeth r loose. i cant afford to go to a dentist. i live in a small town near rocky mount north carolina. help me if you can.

  12. Steve says:

    Dental care in England is an utter joke. Never mind the fact that it should be free. Dentists are basically scam artists working a protection racket. I refuse to pay them a six-monthly tribute any longer. Unless you’ve been chewing batteries or something, you do not need a check-up every six months, but if you don’t pay up you’re off the list, and then you’ve got to pay even more. It’s ridiculous. Not only that, they make up things that need to be fixed: I had a “sideways-growing wisdom tooth” a few years ago, didn’t pay for the treatment, and it magically straightened out – next time I went to the dentist, he’d forgotten about it. There’s plenty more where that came from. I mean, the last time I went they tried to charge me for literally nothing, not even a check-up. How stupid do they think we are? Dentists are scum. Seriously, pulling out your own teeth isn’t that hard if they’re already on their way out. I wish more people would do that, that way something might actually get done about this mess. Since I stopped seeing dentists and actually did some research of my own, I soon discovered that brushing after meals is BAD for your teeth! Don’t believe their lies! They want you to have bad teeth! Why do we trust them? They directly benefit from us having bad teeth and yet we trust them to do the right thing. It’s laughable. If you give dentists money you are a sheep and are part of the problem. If you work in a dental practice in England, you are part of an immoral profession. Fact.

  13. Rajnikant says:

    I am entitle of state pension and I want to ask if I can get treatment of dentist free?

  14. nawaal says:

    hi my name is nawaal i have very crooked and crowded teeth, i’m on jobseekers allowance and cannot afford to have braces on my teeth privatly, can you please tell me a dentist i can contact that can put braces for me for free or at alow cost. thank you very much for taking the time to read this.regards

  15. farhan says:

    hi i am farhan. i got a problem in my one teeth it giving pain i am a student and i am living in greenford . i want my free treatment of teeth. so pls tell me phon no n or contact address? which dentist can do my treatment? i am feeling pain in my teeth pls e-mail me thanks

  16. keith stanley says:

    can anyone help i suffer with gingervitus, my mother had it also.i have lost most of my teeth now and feel so low in myself.I was told to go to india they do cheep inplants,my wife and i went for a holiday to check it out ,we didnt fancy it as we heard so many not good storys. could I be a volenteer for students who want to go forword in this area. i would be willing to donate to a charity if anyone could help me.

  17. Bronx Dentist says:

    Going to the dentist and feeling comfortable and confident is rare. People are usually anxiouos and worried when it comes to visiting the dentist. Should you knew a lot more about your dentist, and you trusted him, you would feel a lot a lot better going to the dentist. That’s why I believe that no 1 ought to ever go to a dentist that they barely know. Often do some study on your dentist so that you’re prepared for whatever may come. It would make your life significantly simpler if you knew your dentist was poor prior to you actually went in for an appointment.

  18. gia says:


    I am a student dependant and stays in Glasgow, I want to fill one cavity…. will this be free?

  19. Sajjad says:

    Hi my name is Sajjad Quader. I am an overseas student and staying in east london. Last few months i am suffering from severe dental pain. I would like to know that am i elegable to get free dental treatment? If yes then could you please tell me how can i apply for that? If know then please let me know do i det and concession?

  20. Derek Barton says:

    Hi there, im actually looking to get some cosmetic work done on my teeth with veneers ( only about 5 of them ), but im finding them sooo expensive everywhere i go. I have stumbled upon this website and was wondering if Glasgow dental school would do veneers on my teeth? And if so are they free or is there a reduced fee to get them done? And also can you get them done on the NHS? I do have a job though so i dont know if i would qualify. Thank you. Derek.

  21. Debbie says:

    Hi I lost a tooth,the one nearest my front tooth at the side and I was given Dentures.I also had some teeth taken out at the back so the dentist decided to have the dentures altogether when all I really wanted was the tooth at the side.However I have since lost there dentures and was just wondering if my dentist would be able to give me an alternative to a denture or should I go to a dental hospital.Debbie

  22. redcardfc says:

    Why are the rules for free dentistry different in England, Wales and Scotland?

  23. Dee Co says:

    Hiya I am looking for a dentist all the dentist i call are not taking on nh snew patients like. I would like to go to the dental hospital and let the students work on my teeth actually i need to get them out as i do wear a partial is there a way i can get on and my teeth are loose so needs attention wish i can afford it but cant can you help i dont mind travelling just need to get them done and get some dentures I live in Wakefield West Yorkshire
    Thanks Dee

  24. Yukiko Primer says:

    I like the article. I was able to send this to some doctor I know that could use this on their website..

  25. imaa says:

    hi and thanks for the information iam not intitled for a free dental care but sound is good ,so i live in glasow do you have any information about this .thanks

    • Lindsey Rogerson says:

      Hi Imaa, I write the family blog on Moneymagpie and Jasmine asked me to look into you request as I also live in Scotland. Below is what I found on the website of Glasgow Dental School, which seems to imply they do free treatment with student dentists. I had my wisdom teeth out at Glasgow Dental School when I was student, and they are well supervised – although that was admitedly some time ago.


      Please note, if you have an urgent dental problem and you are not
      registered with a dentist of your own, you should contact:
      Emergency Dental Treatment Centre
      Glasgow Dental Hospital
      Tel: 0141 232 6323.
      Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 08:30 -17:15.
      Outwith these hours, please contact NHS24 Tel no. 08454 242424
      For further information, on a student appointment, please contact:
      Ms Debbie Beard, Student Patient Co-ordinator
      Glasgow Dental Hospital and School
      378 Sauchiehall Street
      Tel: 0141 211 9656.

  26. Nuala Loughran says:

    I am entitled to free dental care, but don’t have a NHS dentist.
    I have “the mouth from Hell!!” as I had medication in the 60’s that interfered with the natural growing prossess of my teeth.
    My Dr, sent me to a dentist when I was 12/13 to sort my teeth via crowns.
    Now I am in Limbo and would be prepared to let students access to my mouth!!! If I knew how to..

  27. Looks like it’s in the Strand in London. Why not give them a call on 020 7836 5454?

  28. kimberley moss says:

    hello! im in a pickle,im looking for an address on how to get to kings college dental school,as i desperately need to see a dentist and have been informed that dental students carry out work on the public at a cheaper rate than a qualified dentist? could you kindly forward me the address,is it on a university campus? i dont know!! thanking you in taking the time to read this e.mail. kim moss.


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