DDU reminds dental professionals to be aware of dental charges in their area

The Dental Defence Union (DDU) is reminding dental professionals to be clear when communicating dental charges and fees to patients.

This follows the introduction of the new dental fee structure in Scotland, which came into effect on 1 November, as well as a recent report published by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. The report found that the number of dental complaints about NHS treatment in England has risen from 1,193 in 2017/18 to 1,982 in 2022/23 – a 66% increase.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman states that there needs to be complete transparency over the costs of care.

Leo Briggs, deputy head of the DDU, said:

“In the DDU’s experience, confusion or disagreement over dental fees can lead to a complaint. To avoid problems, we advise communicating charges and your practice's fee policy clearly to all patients at the earliest opportunity.”

The DDU’s checklist to minimise the risk of receiving a complaint due to dental charges includes:

  • clearly set out services and charges in practice notices and on your website
  • provide details of payment arrangements, such as whether patients are expected to pay for their treatment in advance or on completion
  • provide a written treatment plan that includes costs and if the treatment is being provided privately or under the NHS. Ask the patient to sign this and keep a copy with their records
  • provide an updated written cost estimate and treatment plan if changes are required as the treatment progresses.



This page was correct at publication on 13/11/2023. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.