Another hike in dental charges has been approved by Government taking the cost of a basic check-up to £21.60.
The third annual above inflation increases of around 5% in England comes after funding from general taxation has been repeatedly cut.
The hike will mean charges for items such as crowns or dentures will rise to £256.50.
Last year the rates also increased – with a band one course of treatment and urgent treatment increasing by 90p from £19.70 to £20.60.
The British Dental Association (BDA) said the latest increases is a cover for cuts to state funding and will mean the poorest going without vital treatment.
Current NHS dental charges
Dentistry is one of the few NHS services where you have to pay a contribution towards the cost of your care.
The information on this page explains what you may have to pay for your NHS dental treatment.
Emergency dental treatment – £20.60
This covers emergency care in a primary care NHS dental practice such as pain relief or a temporary filling.
Band 1 course of treatment – £20.60
This covers an examination, diagnosis (including X-rays), advice on how to prevent future problems, a scale and polish if clinically needed, and preventative care such as the application of fluoride varnish or fissure sealant if appropriate.
Band 2 course of treatment – £56.30
This covers everything listed in Band 1 above, plus any further treatment such as fillings, root canal work or removal of teeth but not more complex items covered by Band 3.
Band 3 course of treatment – £244.30
This covers everything listed in Bands 1 and 2 above, plus crowns, dentures, bridges and other laboratory work.
It means patients paying an extra £72 million a year towards dental services.
Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, chairman of the British Dental Association, said: “These unprecedented charge hikes are self-defeating, and simply discourage the patients who need us most from seeing an NHS dentist.
“Cost is a huge barrier to many patients on moderate incomes. The result is patients bottling up problems and requiring more extensive treatment which hurts their health and costs the NHS millions.”
The Tories quietly announced the price rise on the Government website late on Friday afternoon.
Patients in England already pay far higher charges for basic care, and contribute a larger share of the dental budget than in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
An estimated one in five patients have delayed treatment for reasons of cost.
Tooth decay is now the top reason for children turning up at A&E and increasing numbers of dental surgeries are closed to NHS patients.
Around 135,000 patients a year are turning up at A&Es with dental problems.
Mr Overgaard-Nielsen added: “We are health professionals, not tax collectors.
“These hikes don’t go to us or towards improving the services our patients receive, they simply provide cover for cuts in state contributions.
“Prevention works in dentistry but we can’t deliver that focus when Government keeps choosing quick savings over sustainable investment.”
More than 11,000 people a week are turning up at their GPs with toothache.
The BDA estimates these appointments cost the NHS over £26 million a year.
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