Help with dentist cost


I went to the dentist in December and I didn't have to pay because I am on income based JSA. I have diabetes so the dentist wants me to go back there in May/June. Will I have to pay for that?

I had no problems when I was there in Dec but I am now having some problems, would I have to pay if I go there now?

He didn't x-rayed, is that because I wasn't paying? To me that is not a complete check-up.



  • If you are still in receipt of income-based JSA then yes your NHS dentist bill will be covered for whatever work the dentist assesses that you need. If you are no longer getting IJSA but do have a low income then you may qualify for free dental care but you would have to complete the relevant form, see:
  • PS... x-rays should not form part of a routine check-up but should be undertaken when an exam identifies the need for work.
  • edited 31 March 2013 at 11:50AM
    ToothsmithToothsmith Forumite
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    edited 31 March 2013 at 11:50AM
    The dentist would be paid the same whether you were paying or not.

    He would also be paid the same by the NHS whether he took x-rays or not. Which is why, on the NHS, 'not' is the option chosen sometimes a little too often.

    X-rays should be taken if they can be justified. No-one should have 'routine' x-rays - that is x-rays taken just because of a policy or protocol without thinking about why, in this case, the x-ray is necessary.

    Generally, for me, I tend to think, "Will the result of this x-ray change my treatment plan?"

    So - if I see a small filling in a tooth, or a partly through wisdom tooth that isn't causing any problem - then I probably wouldn't x-ray it. The tooth will still need a small filling, and the wisdom tooth with no problems still wouldn't justify extraction - so nothing will be changed by the x-ray.

    If I saw a large filling, I might x-ray it to see how likely it might be that a root filling would be needed - but again, the tooth still needs a filling, so I might just warn the patient that depending on what we found when we got into the tooth, a root filling might be necessary, and then not x-ray. Because the outcome wouldn't be affected by what I saw on the x-ray, but what I saw when I did the filling.

    For diagnostic x-rays, the intervals I leave between bite-wing x-rays (The 2 x-rays taken to look between your teeth every few years - what are often called 'routine x-rays'), the interval I take those at depends on the risk factors of the patient. Someone with a stable mouth where nothing much goes wrong, maybe every 3 years or so. If someone has a bad diet, and seems to have cavities each time they come, then probably every year. I would often take these for a new patient, unless in exceptional circumstances, or they had been taken recently by a previous dentist and I had access to them.

    So - there is no real hard and fast answer to when to take an x-ray and when not to. It's very much down to the judgement of the dentist at that particular time in that particular mouth.

    On the other hand, if the dentist does miss something that would have shown up on an x-ray, then he can be in quite deep do-do if he didn't take one.

    So it can be quite a tightrope to walk sometimes. But - the fact that you pay, or don't pay will not be one of the factors that influences the decision.
    How to find a dentist.
    1. Get recommendations from friends/family/neighbours/etc.
    2. Once you have a short-list, VISIT the practices - dont just phone. Go on the pretext of getting a Practice Leaflet.
    3. Assess the helpfulness of the staff and the level of the facilities.
    4. Only book initial appointment when you find a place you are happy with.
  • cattiecattie Forumite
    8.8K Posts
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    I pay for my dental treatment & can't remember when a dentist last took an x-ray, despite me having regular check-ups over the years. So I think it's fair to say you are being treated no differently to those who do have to pay for treatment.
    The bigger the bargain, the better I feel.

    I should mention that there's only one of me, don't confuse me with others of the same name.
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