If you wrongly make a claim for a dental charge, you may be sent a penalty charge notice. You would have to pay the cost of the dental charge, plus a penalty charge of up to £100. You may also be prosecuted for an offence that can lead to a criminal record.
If one or more of the criteria listed below applies to you when your treatment starts, you’ll be entitled to free NHS dental care.
You’re entitled if you are:
- aged under 18, or under 19 and in qualifying full-time education
- pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months
- staying in an NHS hospital and your treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist
- an NHS hospital dental service outpatient – but you may have to pay for your dentures or bridges
You’re also entitled if you or your partner – including civil partner – receive, or you’re under the age of 20 and the dependant of someone receiving:
- Income Support
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- Universal Credit and meet the criteria
If you’re entitled to or named on:
- a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate – if you do not have a certificate, you can show your award notice; you qualify if you get Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits with a disability element (or both), and have an income for tax credit purposes of £15,276 or less
- a valid HC2 certificate
People named on an NHS certificate for partial help with health costs (HC3) may also get help.
You will not be exempt from paying because you receive any of the following:
- Incapacity Benefit
- contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance
- contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Council Tax Benefit
- Housing Benefit
- Pension Credit Savings Credit
Medical conditions do not exempt patients from payment for dental treatment. You’ll be asked to show your dentist written proof that you do not have to pay for all or part of your NHS treatment. You will also be asked to sign a form to confirm that you do not have to pay.
Exemption for pregnant women
Pregnant women and women who have had a baby in the last 12 months get free NHS dental treatment. You may have to show proof, such as a maternity exemption certificate (MatEx), a maternity certificate (MATB1), or your baby’s birth certificate.
If you gave birth more than 12 months ago, you will not be entitled to free NHS dental treatment. The MatEx only gives exemption from NHS prescriptions.
If you have a valid HC2 certificate or tax credit exemption certificate, write in the certificate number.
If you have a valid HC3 certificate, write in the certificate number and the maximum your certificate says you can pay. You'll pay either what appears on the certificate or the actual charge, whichever is the least.
Dentists are not responsible for advising patients on exemptions, and it's the patient's responsibility to know if they're exempt.
You'll need to show proof of your entitlement to help with dental costs. If you are not sure whether you're entitled to help, you must pay. You can claim a refund, but make sure you keep all receipts.
If you had a mixture of NHS and private treatment, you can only get a refund for charges that were part of your NHS treatment.
Ask your dentist for the NHS receipt form FP64, or a receipt that shows the total NHS charge and the date you paid. You’ll also need the HC5 (D) refund claim form for dental charges (PDF, 59kb), on which you’ll need to explain why you’re claiming a refund.
Enclose your original receipt, and make sure you include your full name and the address of your dentist, and post it to the address stated on the form.
If you’re on a low income and find it difficult to pay the charge, you can apply to the NHS Low Income Scheme. You can submit a claim for a refund at the same time as you apply to the Low Income Scheme. Refund claims must be submitted within 3 months of the date on which you paid.