Our response to the increase in dental charges

Read our response to the increase in fees for NHS dental care.
A dental examination light.

Yesterday, the government announced that NHS dental fees will go up by four per cent from 1 April. This is despite the fact that last year patients were faced with the steep increase of 8.5 per cent. 

Responding, Chris McCann, our director of campaigns said:

“We are disappointed that the government has rejected our call to freeze NHS dental charges this year.

“Our latest research shows that one in five people are put off going to the dentist because of cost. This is up from 15% in March last year. Worryingly, 40% of those experiencing the greatest financial pressure said they had avoided going to the dentist because of cost, compared to just seven per cent of people who said were very comfortable. 

“The rise in dental charges is compounded by that fact that last year’s increase of 8.5% was the highest on record. 

“And while it’s true that some people are entitled to exemptions from NHS dental charges – they may not be able to benefit due to other dental pressures.  We’ve heard from women during pregnancy and after birth, who don’t end up receiving free NHS dental care they’re entitled to, because they can’t find an NHS dentist able to see them during this period.

“There is a twin crisis of access and affordability in NHS dentistry that must be tackled. We’re calling on both DHSC and NHS England to ensure they fully promote the exemption categories and also the NHS Low Income Scheme which can partly but not fully cover dental charges for those who qualify.” 

Polling was carried out by Yonder between 26-28 January 2024 on a representative sample of 2008 people from England.