We all know that it’s important to look after our teeth. But despite the importance of regular dental visits, many people don’t make time to visit the dentist as often as they should.
When you’ve just started at university and perhaps left your hometown for the first time, finding a dentist is probably the last thing on your mind. You’re busy with freshers events, making new friends and getting your head around the syllabus, so you probably won’t be thinking about your teeth!
But you need to take care of your dental health throughout your time as a student. That’s why finding a good NHS dentist for students is so important. But do you have to pay for dental services? This is likely to be a big concern for you at this time in your life. Read on to learn more.
Free NHS Dental Treatment Eligibility
Dental care is not free on the NHS for most people nowadays. However, there are certain groups of people who don’t have to pay for NHS dental treatment.
If you are under 18, or under 19 and in fulltime education at the time that your treatment starts, then you are entitled to have dental treatment free of charge. This will be of benefit to a small number of students in their first year at university.
People who receive certain income-based benefits are also entitled to free NHS dental treatment. These benefits include Income Support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance. If you are in receipt of one of these benefits, your partner and any dependents under the age of 20 are also entitled to free dental treatment.
Some people in receipt of certain types of Pension Credits also do not have to pay for NHS dental care. Also if you get Universal Credit, you may be entitled to free dental care, depending on your earnings. Families who have an NHS tax credit exemption certificate are entitled to help with health costs too.
You also do not have to pay for dental treatment if you are pregnant or if you have had a baby during the last twelve months. People in receipt of War Pension Scheme or Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments can also claim money back for NHS dental treatment and other healthcare costs.
Do University Students Get Free Dental Care?
There is no automatic exemption from dental treatment costs for students. If any of the above criteria apply to you, then you are entitled to free dental care if you have the correct documentation to prove your entitlement.
But it’s worth noting that, even if you are entitled to free care, not all dentists accept NHS patients. Some dentists offer a mix of NHS and private care. So you should ensure that you find out the payment terms before treatment begins.
So you’re probably wondering how to get cheap healthcare and dentistry when you’re a student. If none of the above criteria applies to you, there are still some circumstances under which dental treatment is free.
If you’re an inpatient in an NHS hospital and receive treatment from a hospital dentist, this will be free of charge. Also, if you’re an NHS hospital dental services outpatient this treatment will also be free, but you may have to pay for bridges or dentures. These scenarios may apply to a small number of students.
For most students, the best approach will be to apply for the NHS Low Income Scheme. Keep reading to find out more about how to secure this help with your dental costs.
How to Get NHS Student Funding for Dental Care
The NHS Low Income Scheme provides support in meeting health costs for those on a low income, including students and pensioners. There are two tiers of help available. If you have an HC2 certificate this entitles you to full help, while an HC3 certificate grants limited assistance.
You can apply for this scheme so long as your investments, savings and property do not add up to more than £16,000. This does not involve the property in which you live. (The cap is different for people who live in care homes, but this is unlikely to be relevant to students).
How much help you are entitled to will depend on your income and outgoings too. If you’re eligible for help, your partner and any dependents will also get free dental care. You can apply by requesting an HC1 form online.
If you are eligible, then you need to ensure that you take your certificate with you when you visit the dentist. You would also receive help in paying for prescriptions, sight tests, glasses or contact lenses and travel costs to receive NHS treatment.
Students in different parts of the UK are entitled to different levels of support, so it’s worth doing some more research if you are studying in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
Finding the Best Student Dental Care
Once you’ve worked out your entitlement, the next thing to do is to find a dentist near you. You should look for somewhere convenient to where you live, which offers all the services you need to look after your teeth.
It’s also important to find a dentist who can deal with emergencies and provide urgent dental care. It’s incredibly stressful to be in a position where you need emergency dental care but you are not registered with a dentist, so you need to think ahead and plan for this scenario.
If you are suffering from severe pain, any injury or trauma to the mouth, teeth, face or jaws, or heavy bleeding, you should attend the nearest Emergency Unit. It’s important in these cases not to wait, but to seek treatment immediately.
There are many diseases which are connected to poor dental health, including diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. It may seem like a hassle, but taking care of your teeth while you’re young is really important for your continuing physical good health.
It’s really important to look have regular dental check-ups while you’re a student. Let’s be realistic about the student lifestyle! There are many reasons why your dental health may suffer during your student years, including late nights and a poor diet.
Even if you’re living a healthy lifestyle and doing a lot of sport, there’s some evidence that this could affect dental health too. Sporty students might consume a lot of sports drinks and energy bars and this can lead to poor gum health.
There are many reasons for a UCL student to consider a visit to The Dental Centre, which is located very close to the student’s union. This makes it a convenient location for regular visits. Having a dentist local to where you are studying means you do not have to wait until you go home during the vacations to have your regular check-up or to address any problems.
Preventative care to identify any potential problems will result in better long-term dental health. And this of course will save you money too. It’s important to note that even if you are eligible for NHS care, some of your treatment may require some payment.
The Dental Centre had enjoyed a long relationship with UCL and is proud to provide NHS care to UCL students. Alongside regular check-ups and cleaning, we also offer teeth straightening and also whitening treatments, which are both popular with students.
We offer a free check-up and ongoing treatment for anyone over the age of 18. For those not entitled to free dental treatment, we offer NHS treatment for students over the age of 19. Prices for regular checks start from as little as £22.70.
The team at The Dental Centre have worked with students for many years, so they understand your needs. They will offer dental health advice and care which is appropriate to your lifestyle.
The Best NHS Dentist for Students at UCL
Now that we’ve explored all the details about eligibility for free dental care, you should have a clear idea of your own position. It’s a little complicated; if you’re not entitled to free care, then what you need is to find an NHS dentist for students.
The Dental Centre is the best choice for students at UCL, due to our convenient location and long history of working in partnership with UCL to look after the dental health of their students. Don’t hesitate to come and see us and discuss all your dental and oral health needs. You can register here and arrange an appointment to visit us soon!