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As well as brushing regularly to keep your teeth and gums healthy, you should also visit your dentist on a regular basis.
In fact, regular check-ups are just as important for those with false teeth. Dentures, for example, need replacing every five years and these are available on the Health Service (HS).
All treatments and advice to help keep your teeth and gums healthy are available on the HS. Cosmetic treatments, such as teeth-whitening, are not covered by the HS so you will have to pay for these.
For a list of local dentists, visit the Business Services Organisation website.
When visiting a dentist you are entitled to:
- A thorough examination of your mouth, teeth and gums
- A treatment plan setting out the treatment proposed (and costs)
- Emergency treatment outside normal surgery hours
- An estimate of the cost of the treatment if you are liable to pay (Health Service and private treatment)
- An explanation of the benefits and drawbacks of any treatment that is recommended
- An explanation of any alternative options that may be available
- Give your consent before any treatment is carried out and to refuse treatment if you do not want it
- Request a second opinion
- Stop treatment if you are not satisfied with it
- Refuse payment for treatment if you find it to be unsatisfactory
- View your records and have these explained free of charge
If you need emergency treatment, your HS dentist has a responsibility to provide it if you are their registered patient. Otherwise, you should go to your GP or Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department.
If you are housebound
If you are not able to leave your home due to illness or disability, you may be able to get a home visit for no extra cost.
A dentist has a duty to visit you if you are housebound, you are registered with the dentist and you live within a five mile radius of the dental practice. Otherwise, your GP or health visitor may be able to arrange transport for you to the dentist’s surgery. Contact details of your local Trust are available on the NI Direct website.
All treatments and advice to help keep your teeth and gums healthy are available on the Health Service (HS) but cosmetic treatments are not.
You will be entitled to all HS treatment free-of-charge if you:
- Or your partner receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, or Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Are a war/service pensioner (the need must be due to their accepted war disablement)
- Qualify for a HC2 certificate under the Low Income Scheme
- Are an HS inpatient and the treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist
- Are an HS Dental Service outpatient (but there may be a charge for dentures and bridges)
- Are named on a valid tax credit exemption certificate
- Are a prisoner
If you or your partner is in receipt of a HC3 certificate under the Low Income Scheme, you will only have to pay a partial charge for treatment.
You may liable for help with health costs or you can contact the Health Charges Helpline on 0800 587 8982.
A dentist can offer you private treatment as well as HS treatment. However, all treatment that is necessary for your oral health must be available on the HS. If you feel you are being given private treatment unnecessarily, you are entitled to complain.
Help with costs
If you are concerned about the cost of treatment, you may be able to get help with costs.