UK dental care costs are a “postcode lottery” shows new research

9th November 2015


Private dental care costs in the UK are a postcode lottery as prices for routine check-ups can vary by £170 in clinics across the country, according to new research.

Private healthcare search engine, looked at the fees charged by 12,629 private dentists, and at five of the most common treatments in 20 towns and cities in the UK.

The findings highlighted the vast disparities in prices across the nation and revealed the national average price of a dental check-up is £46.

Comparing the average cost per city, Birmingham is the best-value location for dental check-ups, at £31, and is also home to the cheapest dental check-up in the country, at £15.

Topping the charts for the most expensive city is Milton Keynes where dentists charge the highest average price, at £62, for the same procedure.

But one clinic in London hits customers with a whopping £185. Despite this, there has been a boost in enquiries of 115% for check-ups in the past year, and the average cost has increased by 28% in just the last six months.

The average cost of veneers in the UK is £443 with the best deals to be found in Leicester, at £318 for this procedure. Cheltenham tops the list as the most expensive city, coming in at an average of £570. However, the highest priced clinic for veneers can be found in London and charges £1,374 – that’s 210% higher than the UK average. Despite the substantial costs, enquiries for veneers have increased by 116% over the past 12 months.

Cambridge tops the poll as the highest priced city for teeth whitening where it costs on average £385, while the national average is £298.

Those living in Plymouth save up to £90 on the national average price, with clinics there charging only £209 on average for teeth whitening.

Incredible savings of up to 1,390% can also be made in Birmingham where one clinic charges just £20 for this procedure. While enquiries for teeth whitening are rapidly increasing, up 97% since last year, the average price for this treatment has decreased in the past six months, saving patients £7, on average, per treatment.

A root canal costs £267, on average, in the UK but if you are living in York you can expect to pay top dollar for the procedure, with an average price tag of £356, which is 33% higher than the national average.

At the bottom of the price scale is Glasgow, where dentists charge an average of just £185 – a stark contrast to one Richmond dentist charging £950 for this technical procedure. Root canals have also increased in price over the past six months, by 6%, and the demand for this treatmet has jumped by 44% over the past year.

Dental implants – used to secure crowns, bridges or dentures when the existing teeth are too badly damaged or missing – cost an average of £2,101 across the UK and is the most expensive of these common dental procedures. The price has increased by £117, on average, over the last six months and Liverpool is the cheapest city with an average cost of £1,427.

Average price for the five most common dental treatments:

Location Dental Checkup Veneers Teeth Whitening Root Canals Dental implants
Belfast £40 £340 £221 £223 £1,461
London £53 £493 £328 £303 £2,420
Reading £38 £561 £317 £332 £1,906
Milton Keynes £62 £388 £261 £246 £1,885
Plymouth £46 £436 £209 £211 £1,463
Bournemouth £48 £511 £312 £316 £1,675
Brighton £44 £430 £342 £275 £2,044
Cardiff £45 £394 £253 £238 £2,062
Cheltenham £35 £570 £255 £228 £2,061
Southampton £35 £485 £258 £305 £1,945
Glasgow £50 £343 £234 £185 £1,752
Manchester £34 £368 £265 £222 £1,531
Leicester £40 £318 £359 £258 £1,795
Liverpool £37 £402 £218 £250 £1,427
Newcastle Upon Tyne £44 £413 £382 £267 £1,383
Birmingham £31 £370 £258 £253 £1,804
Leeds £43 £417 £313 £253 £1,740
Cambridge £32 £424 £385 £320 £2,393
Edinburgh £39 £432 £317 £233 £2,215
York £40 £521 £294 £356 £2,117
National average £46 £443 £298 £267 £2,101

With increasing pressure on the NHS, more people than ever are going private for healthcare, including dental care. Overall, enquiries to private clinics for dental health procedures have increased in the past year, with braces up 115%, fillings up 93%, tooth extraction up 93, teeth cleaning increased by 90%, dental crowns up 45%, and dentures up 44%.

Commenting on the research, Emily Ross, director of, said: “These figures show the huge amount of savings that can be made by shopping around for dental care, even within the same city. Regular dental check-ups every six months are recommended for all the family, and as everyone knows, these costs can really add up. It is important that patients are more aware of the options available to them, and that money can be saved.

“Patient reviews are a valuable resource to find a suitable dentist that can deliver the best treatment, at a price that suits too. As costs vary from city to city, savings can also be made by taking a short trip to a nearby town or city. Always be careful of special offers and discounts, do your research, and make your dental health a priority when choosing a practitioner.”

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