Can you get Dental Implants on the NHS? | Smile Stories

Can you get Dental Implants on the NHS?

can you get dental implants on the NHS

If you’ve lost a tooth or two you may have been told that dental implants are the best way to replace your missing teeth or dentures. 

A popular question our Smile Stories team are asked by many in this situation is, can you get dental implants on the NHS?

Can you get dental implants on the NHS?

The quick and simple answer is no, dental implants are not available on the NHS for the vast majority of patients. 

While most individuals can’t get dental implants on the NHS, there are some scenarios in which dental implants would be available on the NHS:

  • If the patient is unable to wear dentures
  • If the patient has a facial or tooth injury caused by an accident which requires reconstructive surgery
  • If the patient has teeth missing due to mouth or neck cancer

The above scenarios would be considered extreme circumstances, but independently-funded treatment from expert implantologists is available for anyone looking for a permanent, long-lasting solution to losing their teeth.

The NHS only provides dental care that is clinically necessary for your mouth, teeth or gums to stay healthy, so dental implants will not be offered to anyone for cosmetic reasons.

In this guide, we explore the reasons why dental implants are not routinely available on the NHS. We explain which patient groups are eligible for NHS treatment, and how dental practices are making dental implants more affordable.

Why You Can’t Get Dental Implants on the NHS

Many basic dental treatments for adults are available on the NHS. But treatments like Invisalign and dental implants are not usually available and must be independently funded.  

This is down to the cost and the argument that there are cheaper (but possibly inferior), alternatives available. After all, the NHS has to treat missing teeth on a budget, and dentures are cheaper than dental implants. 

However, Restorative Dentistry-UK, (the writers of the current 2019 guidelines for the provision of NHS-funded dental implant treatment) do acknowledge the following:

Dental implants offer significant long-term health benefits to patients from a functional and social aspect and can be a cost-effective alternative to conventional treatments.”

As the NHS recognises the emerging evidence that dental implant treatment benefits both long-term oral health and overall wellbeing, they do offer implant treatment to a very select few. 

Who is Eligible for NHS Dental Implants?

Whilst dental implants are not routinely available on the NHS, there are an extremely limited number of situations where a case for NHS funding for the fitting of dental implants can be pursued. 

The patient groups that could be considered eligible for NHS funded dental implant treatment include those who have:-

  • been born with inherited conditions that have led to missing teeth
  • had surgical interventions resulting in tooth and tissue loss, for example, those with head and neck cancer
  • been born with or have acquired conditions with extra-oral defects of the eyes or ears
  • experienced traumatic events leading to tooth loss, such as a road traffic accident (although alternative methods must be considered first)

Those patients who would be considered eligible for NHS-funded dental implants must fulfil further criteria to ensure that the implants will be successful. 

For example, candidates must be non-smokers, have excellent daily oral hygiene and have no evidence of untreated dental disease such as cavities. 

Some medical conditions and medications would exclude the patient from being suitable for NHS funded implants. 

Even if someone meets all of the criteria for NHS funded implants, who knows how long the waiting list would be? 

NHS Alternatives vs Dental Implants

If, like most people, you’re not eligible for NHS funded implants, you might be considering NHS alternatives like dentures and bridges due to the cost of implants. 

But make sure you are fully aware of all the facts before you dismiss independently funded implants. 

NHS dentures and bridges might seem the cheaper option in the short term, but the long term costs, both monetary and in terms of oral health and facial appearance may be higher than first thought.

Multiple Replacement Sets Might be Needed

Because dentures and bridges don’t replace the teeth roots, bone loss frequently occurs causing the jaw bone to shrink and change shape.

This causes the prosthetics to become ill-fitting. Replacements are then needed.   

As dentures and bridges are not fixed in place, they can be lost or damaged and you will need to get new ones.

Any replacement sets have to be paid for.  Multiple sets may be needed over the years and each one of those will be at a new cost.

As NHS dental treatment for adults is not free, the cost of numerous sets over the years can add up to more than you think.

Leading to the question, is the price difference between dentures and implants really that much different? Especially when you consider the cost of your appearance changing. 

Benefits of Dental Implants over NHS Alternatives

Dental implants can lead to fewer visits to the dentist because they’re easier to maintain compared with dentures. Another hidden cost that needs to be taken into account. 

Dental implants are made of high-quality materials and can last for 20-30 years. They do not need replacing due to changes in facial shape, and as they are secured in your mouth, it’s impossible to lose them. 

Plus, there is no competition comparing implants to NHS alternatives for being able to eat and smile confidently. Dental implants are life-changing.

Implants Might be More Affordable Than You Think 

Dental implants are considered by many, including those that write the NHS Implant guidelines, as the best way of replacing missing teeth. 

They offer significant long-term health benefits and can be a cost-effective alternative to conventional treatments.

However, most people can’t get dental implants on the NHS. 

But the good news is that many private implant clinics make it more affordable for clients by spreading the cost over several months. 

Here at Smile Stories, we offer a flexible 0% interest-free finance option for up to 24 months, starting at as little as £3.00 per day for patients who are wishing to undergo a dental implant in Bournemouth.

Our expert Bournemouth implant dentist offers complimentary video or in-house consultations. They’re a risk-free way to see if you’re suitable and see how they can transform your life.


Dr Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons) MFDS RCPS (Glasg) is a dentist who qualified with honours. Based in the Poole and Bournemouth area, he has a keen interest in teeth straightening and aesthetic dentistry and is a certified Invisalign provider.