Aug 31

Free dental care – get your teeth fixed!

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?

Pregnant woman at the dentists

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

  • People 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.


Try student dentists for free dental treatment

Dental students

This 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.
  • You may need dental treatment that isn’t suitable for training purposes, so you wouldn’t be able to get it free.
  • Student clinics do usually require that you’re not registered with another dentist.

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

Unfortunately, there is 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

This school often requires patients to have free dental treatment as part of their students’ training.

  • 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

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

  • Liverpool dental school offers free treatment for people requiring fillings, gum treatments, crowns and dentures.
  • You 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.

Newcastle University Dental Hospital

  • To sign up for free dental care at check the website as they receive a large volume of applications and can’t always offer free treatment.
  • They do need patients throughout the year for different types of treatments
  • Appointments with students are available on weekdays only, between 09.00 and 17.00.
  • They say that appointments will be significantly longer and more frequent than with a qualified dentist.

Charles Clifford Dental Hospital

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.

Barts 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.


There’s a list of dental hospitals across the country that you can try here


Check you’re not already covered for dentistry

Woman smiling in dentist chair

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.

Also your partner’s employer might cover them and possibly even you for dental work, so get them to check.

Someone else paying for your trip to the dentist may make it that much easier to go!

Dental insurance policies generally cover regular maintenance visits to the dentist such as check-ups, scale and polish and X-rays. They also cover treatments like fillings, root canals and crowns at NHS practices and private clinics.

If you don’t have free insurance, look for your own dental insurance package by using our health insurance comparison page here.


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Steven Langton
Steven Langton

Well I’ve the same problem , as Thomas , I broke a denture a bottom plate ! Don t ask but it’s been hell ever since , almost choking several times , as I can t brisk anything down sufficiently to eat , I have to rely on a soft diet which is kind of embarrassing for me family get together s have to be forfeited, In case I have an issue with what I try to eat , I have had food lodged in my throat and it’s just impossible to relay that while eating , and with other… Read more »

Thomas Boyle
Thomas Boyle

I have had the same set of false teeth for over 15 years no exaggeration they are all ground down to just flat bits of plastic , i have tried a couple of times with new sets but just can’t seem to get used to them .The reason I have false teeth was because a dentist in my area said I had pioneer of the gums which I don’t think was true ,I still get feelings in my gums and it’s not very nice I just wish I cld get a nice set made for me because I have been… Read more »


hi there Thomas. I asked my own dentist about this – he is Surinder Hundle at Lund Osler in London ( This is his reply. Hope it helps: ” It is common that false teeth wear down and will do so especially after 15years of usage. It is also not uncommon that during this time further underlying bone atrophies/is lost. This results in less support for new dentures/teeth resulting in other difficulties with new dentures arising. When new dentures are made they can take up to 6 months to settle in especially as the individual is used to old yet… Read more »


Two of my friends have recently had dentures fitted and of course the bottom set us just useless nothing to grip onto as gum has shrunk , looks dreadful and I am really so sorry for them to have bare bottom gums after paying for this useless procedure , surely dentists in the UK can now offer mini implants to hold dentures in place Personally my dentist retired two years ago and there is still no replacement , all the NHS dentists in the practice can take no more patients No loss to lose the de that I speak off… Read more »


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.

Claire Thompson
Claire Thompson

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.


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

Kristina B.@Full Dental Coverage
Kristina [email protected] Dental Coverage

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.:)

shaz khan
shaz khan

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?

Dr John
Dr John

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`.


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


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,… Read more »

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