Will the NHS fund dental implants?
Dental implants are consistently growing in popularity and are the preferred solution to crowns, bridges and dentures in many cases.
The advantages of dental implants include reduced bone atrophy, longevity and solidity.
However, they are still not the preferred treatment for patients on the NHS due to the cost.
In fact the NHS will only fund dental implants if the patient demonstrates a clear medical need for the treatments and dentures or other treatments are not suitable.
The NHS bases its selection process for funding dental implants on clinical guidance outlined by the Royal College of Surgeons in 1997.
Primary Care Trusts (or Care Commissioning Groups as they are soon to be known) act as commissioning agents for the NHS locally and decisions regarding implant funding are made here.
It rests with the PCT to interpret and apply the RCS clinical guidance.
So what types of cases will the PCT’s consider funding for?
After reading the guidance set out by the Royal College of Surgeons and reviewing a number of commissioning statements from PCT’s, we can determine that the following cases are areas where funding requested will be considered:
- Tooth loss or the alternative replacements for missing teeth will or have resulted in drastic limitations on eating or speaking.
- Tooth loss or the alternative replacements for missing teeth will or have resulted have caused psychological problems. Psychological problems will usually have to be confirmed by a clinical psychologist.
- A patient is missing all teeth on one or both jaws and this is resulting in gagging.
- A patient is suffering from severe bone due to a complete lack of teeth on any jaw.
- If a patient is missing all teeth on or both jaws and is under 45, they will be subject to special consideration.
- If a young child is missing teeth due to developmental anomalies such as a cleft palate or congenital disease.
- If tooth loss is the result of severe facial trauma.
- As part of reconstructive treatment following surgery to the mouth and surrounding tissues for the treatment of malignant disease, where the bone loss is such that only dental implants can be used.
If you require dental implants and feel your case fits the descriptions outlined above talk your local NHS dentist who will make a case to your local PCT.