Postcode lottery for private dental check-ups

PRICES charged by private dentists are a postcode lottery, with those for a simple check-up varying by up to 733 per cent across clinics in major UK towns and cities.

Costs can vary considerably even in the same city or town says Picture: Getty
Costs can vary considerably even in the same city or town says Picture: Getty
Costs can vary considerably even in the same city or town says Picture: Getty

The data, based on fees charged by more than 12,000 private dentists across the UK for some of the most common treatments, also revealed the average price of a dental consultation in the UK is £36.

However, this can vary by £110 depending where the dental practice is located.

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The most expensive check-up was in one Bristol clinic at £125, while the cheapest was at a London practice charging just £15.

Edinburgh was the third most expensive city for a check-up, averaging at £44 while Glasgow was the third cheapest at £31.

The survey by, a private healthcare online search engine, looked at prices charged by private dentists for some of the most common treatments including root canal treatment and teeth whitening.

The increasing demand for cosmetic dentistry work not available on the NHS has led to an increase in the number of private dental surgeries opening in the UK.

Teeth whitening, no longer the preserve of celebrities, has grown to become one of the most popular procedures.

This was the only treatment where London proved to be priciest at £364. Liverpool was cheapest at £205 while Edinburgh and Glasgow came in at £293 and £231 respectively.

The average cost of root canal treatment in the UK is currently £253 but prices for the procedure varied between Glasgow offering the least expensive treatment at £158 – almost £100 under the UK average of £253. Top of the league table for the treatment was Reading where patients were charged £325.

Private dentists can set charges at levels they choose, often to reflect the start-up costs and location of the surgery.

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However, the General Dental Practitioners’ Association publish guidelines for what is considered reasonable.

Emily Ross, director of, advised customers to do their research before choosing a private dentist.

“If some of these prices are hard to swallow, the positives to take away from this research are the potentially huge savings to be made by shopping around.

“If the whole family has dental regular check-ups every six months, as recommended, then the accumulated costs over time could be quite significant. It’s well worth comparing prices in your local area, as the cost of dental treatments can also vary quite dramatically between dental clinics in the same city or town.

“Read patient reviews and find a practitioner you feel comfortable with, as this can make all the difference when it comes to those much-dreaded fillings. Be wary of special offers and discounts and put your oral hygiene at the forefront of your decision making.”

An Office of Fair Trading investigation in 2012 into the UK’s £6 billion dental industry found some dentists were misleading patients about their right to NHS treatment so they would pay for private treatment.