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Differences between NHS vs private dentistry

15 January 2024

With the demise and lack of availability of NHS dentistry, more and more people are turning to private care when it comes to looking after their oral health and people often wonder what the differences are between the services.


NHS practices often work to tighter schedules as they need to see many more patients each day to tackle the longer waiting list and huge demand. Private dentists have full control over their diaries so often allow longer visits to ensure they have the time for you, to listen to your concerns and discuss all your options in full, without feeling hurried. On average an NHS clinic may see 70-80 patients per day where as a private clinic ,may see 10-20 patients.


NHS treatment is designed to be cost effective; including the materials used and laboratories involved in your treatment. The options such as white fillings or metal free crowns are unlikely to be available. The majority of fillings will be amalgam and restricted to treatments which are absolutely clinically necessary. There are more available options within private dentistry where we can offer you a multitude of bespoke solutions to resolve your concerns or problems.

Cosmetic procedures

Cosmetic procedures are not provided through the NHS. Services such as tooth whitening, clear braces (Invisalign), composite bonding and specialist services like periodontics and implants. Within private care you have access to all of these services. This is a huge part of why people come to the dentist as people are concerned with the way their teeth look and are often looking for solutions to improve their appearance whether it be straightening teeth, removing stains, lightening their shade or repairing damaged or worn teeth.

Preventative dentistry

Private dentistry allows us to focus a greater amount of our time on preventative care. This approach emphasises the importance of regular hygiene visits, oral health education with a long-term plan in mind. These services are more readily available at a private practice that will limit the amount of treatment you should need in the future. At Cheltenham and Cotswold Dental we have oral health educators, who have time to educate you and your children on the importance of good oral hygiene and how to look after your teeth in between visits. Our treatment coordinators are also always on hand to support your treatment with extra time available to discuss treatment plans, payment options and any worries you may have.

Materials and equipment

As a private practice we carefully choose the best materials for our treatments to ensure you have the best outcome. We also have the some of the most advanced technology such as digital x-rays, CT scanner and digital intra-oral scanners that mean no more uncomfortable impressions and instant simulations of how your teeth can look following treatment.


Cost can of course be a big factor when it comes to deciding which dentist is right for you. Where NHS dentistry is subsidised, it isn’t free for most people and often private care can be more affordable than you think; with most practices offering payment plans. At Cheltenham and Cotswold Dental we have the option of Denplan to spread the cost of routine care and pay plans for some of our other cosmetic treatments such as orthodontics. It is also possible to obtain interest-free finance on your behalf. If you would like further details on any of these options please contact us to speak to one of our treatment coordinators.

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