Choosing a Dental Insurance: Private, NHS, Capitation or Cash: Pros and Cons

Friday, August 23, 2019, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

A visit to the dentist can be expensive. Fortunately, in the UK, most people are offered subsidised dental work under NHS.

But there are a few other options available when it comes to choosing how to cover the expenses of a dental visit.

1. NHS Dental Charges

The cost of an NHS dental visit is set by the government and can range from £22 – £260 depending on the band and level of treatment required. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, prices can vary, but the cost of a single visit to the dentist is capped at £390.

  • – Pros of NHS

    As the prices are set, you always know how much you will need to pay and prepare accordingly. Many people are also eligible for free dental work under the NHS plan, including pregnant women and mothers with a child under one year old, job seekers, and children under the age of 18 if they are enrolled full time at school.

  • – Cons of NHS

    NHS dentists are in high demand, and so there is typically a longer waiting period before you can receive treatment. NHS also only covers specific dental procedures; you need to pay extra for additional treatments that are not part of the plan. You may have to travel to find an NHS dentist as there are very few in rural areas.

2. Cash Plans

A cash plan is a monthly payment plan where you pay a set amount per month and are reimbursed for a fraction or the whole amount of the cost of your dental visit.

  • – Pros of Cash Plans

    Cash plans help to spread out the cost of your dental treatment and are ideal for dealing with costly treatment or emergency visits. You can claim your money back straight away, and many companies offer cash plans as part of your benefits package.

  • – Cons of Cash Plans

    Cash plans are better suited to people you require regular treatment. If you don’t visit the dentist often, you end up paying money for nothing. You also need to pay for the cost of the treatment up front before you can claim.

3. Private Dental Insurance

Through private dental insurance you pay a monthly premium, then pay for your dental treatments and claim back money from your insurance provider.

  • – Pros of Private Insurance

    You are covered in case of an emergency or major dental work which are generally expensive. Most plans also offer coverage for dental work while travelling overseas.

  • – Cons of Private Insurance

    Private insurance can be expensive depending on the level of coverage you need, your current health status, and your medical history. There are often waiting periods before you can claim and some treatments are capped, which means you need to pay the difference out-of-pocket.

4. Capitation Plan

Capitation plans are offered by the dentist. This is a monthly payment plan to spread out the cost of treatment.

  • – Pros of Capitation Plan

    The monthly cost of capitation is usually less than other plans and depends on your current dental health and treatment history. Different types of plans offer a flexible approach that can suit your budget.

  • – Cons of Capitation Plan

    If you don’t go to the dentist often, it can end up being an expensive option. Not all treatments are offered under capitation.

5. Private Dentistry Plans

Under private dentistry plans, you can receive treatment from a non-NHS dentist, and the prices are not capped by the government.

  • – Pros of Private Dentistry Plans

    Scheduling appointments is simple, and there is very little wait time. You only need to pay for the treatment that you receive. You also have the option to get cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening and braces.

  • – Cons of Private Dentistry Plans

    The cost of private dentistry treatments is usually higher than on other plans, and the costs vary between dentists so you may have to shop around to find the best value. If your dentist in Farnham offers private dental plans enquire which treatments are available under it and if it benefits your situation.


Choosing the right dental insurance depends on a variety of factors from the state of your oral health to your budget. Be sure to do your research and shop around to find the best coverage to suit your needs.

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