Children go free: NHS dental care explained

The NHS has been looking after our children’s smiles by offering free dental care for decades. But do you know which treatments you and your little one are entitled to?

Keep reading to discover all you need to know about the cover you and your family can expect – plus how to apply for an NHS space at your local Bupa Dental Care practice.

Free dental care for new and expecting mums

The surge in hormone levels during pregnancy can make your gums more susceptible to the effect of plaque resulting in inflammation and bleeding. To give your smile the protection it deserves, you can benefit from free NHS dental care.

Who qualifies for free dental care?

Mums-to-be can enjoy free dental care with the NHS during pregnancy and for a full 12 months beyond their due or delivery date (depending on whether you apply before or after birth).

What’s included?

All your check-ups during this time are covered – plus fillings, dentures, root canal treatments, crowns and bridges. Preventative treatments that can help with your smile’s changes during pregnancy, like a scale and polish, are also included if your dentist feels it’s clinically necessary to have them.

Young boy kissing pregnant mother’s stomach

How to apply:

To receive free treatment before the birth of your child, you’ll need to provide a signed Maternity Exemption Certificate to your local practice. You can request the relevant FW8 application form from your midwife, GP or health visitor – who will also need to sign it.

Following the birth, you’ll also need to show a notification of birth form and your baby’s birth certificate alongside your Maternity Exemption Certificate.

Free children’s dental care for every step of childhood

With dental decay becoming an increasingly common problem in children, we recommend booking your child in for a check-up after the arrival of their first tooth.. This will help your dentist to keep a close eye on their ever-changing smile as it develops through childhood.

Any child under the age of 18 is eligible for NHS dental treatment, or up until the age of 19 if they’re still in full time education.

Children can also receive orthodontic treatment on the NHS if there’s a clinical need. Your child will be assessed on the IOTN (index of orthodontic treatment need)

Find your nearest NHS practice:

Simply use the search bar below to find your local Bupa Dental Care practice offering NHS treatment.

No NHS spaces left at your local practice? Ask about Our other services


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