Can an NHS Dentist Refuse a Root Canal? Complete Guide

NHS Dentists

Can an NHS Dentist Refuse a Root Canal? Complete Guide

Root canal treatment, also known as RCT, is a procedure used to save a tooth that has been severely damaged by decay or injury. The treatment involves removing the damaged pulp inside the tooth and sealing it to prevent further infection. It is a crucial procedure that can help you keep your natural tooth rather than opting for extraction.

NHS and Root Canal Treatment

In the UK, root canal treatment is technically available on the NHS. However, certain factors can influence whether an NHS dentist will perform the procedure. The NHS aims to save teeth when possible. But, the decision often comes down to the dentist’s assessment of the tooth’s condition and the chance of successful treatment.

Why Are No Dentists Accepting NHS Patients

When Can an NHS Dentist Refuse a Root Canal?

  1. Tooth damage can be too severe. An NHS dentist may decide that a root canal is unlikely to work. In such cases, extraction might be the preferred option.
  2. Lack of Equipment or Expertise: Some NHS dentists might lack the tools or skills for complex root canals. This is especially true for molars. Referrals to specialists or private endodontists might be the only viable option.
  3. The NHS has specific guidelines for treatments. Root canals on molar teeth are often too complex or costly for NHS funding.

How much is crown on NHS

Navigating NHS Referral Policies

  1. Referral to NHS Specialists: Few NHS endodontists do root canals. These specialists often have long waiting lists, and not all patients will qualify for a referral. The decision often depends on the availability of alternative treatment options.
  2. Private Referrals: If you cannot access NHS endodontists, you may need to seek treatment from a private endodontist. This option usually incurs higher costs but might be necessary to save your tooth.

Can an NHS Dentist Remove You Without Warning

Common Patient Experiences

Many patients have experienced difficulty in getting root canal treatment on the NHS. There are reports of patients being told that the procedure cannot be performed under NHS due to cost and complexity. These cases show the importance of understanding your treatment options. Seek a second opinion if needed.

Why Are No Dentists Accepting NHS Patients

Understanding the Costs of Root Canal Treatment

  • NHS Costs: Root canal treatments may need extra protection, like a crown or onlay. They can fall under Band 2 or Band 3 of NHS charges.
  • Private Costs: Private endodontists charge more for their services. The exact amount can vary based on treatment complexity and the practitioner.

Will the NHS Pay for My Teeth


NHS dentists can refuse to perform root canal treatment if they believe it is unlikely to succeed or if it’s beyond their expertise. In such cases, they might recommend extraction or refer you to a specialist.

To navigate the system effectively, it is essential to understand your options and seek a second opinion when necessary. You can choose NHS or private treatment. But, to avoid big procedures like root canals, keep good dental health and catch problems early.

How Do I Qualify for NHS Dental Treatment

Get the Best Dental Care at Old Town Dental Care

If you’re unsure about your dental health or need guidance on root canal treatment, Old Town Dental Care is here to help. Our experienced team is ready to provide personalized advice and treatment options to ensure you receive the best care possible. Book an appointment with us today and take the first step toward a healthier, brighter smile.

Frequently Asked Question

Can an NHS dentist refer me to a private endodontist for a root canal?

Yes, if the dentist believes your case requires specialised care beyond what the NHS provides, they may refer you to a private endodontist. This typically incurs additional costs for the patient.

What happens if my NHS root canal treatment fails?

You should return to the same dentist for a review. The NHS may cover corrective treatment if it’s within 12 months of the original procedure.

How Do I Find an NHS Dentist in the UK

Is root canal treatment more affordable on the NHS than privately?

Yes, NHS treatment costs less due to set price bands. But, not all cases qualify. This is especially true for complex cases needing specialised care.

Can I request a specific type of crown after my NHS root canal treatment?

The type of crown provided through the NHS is based on clinical need. For specific requests, private treatment may be required.

Can a Private Dentist Refer To The NHS

What should I do if my NHS dentist refuses a root canal?

Seek a second opinion. Or, consider a private endodontist for an evaluation. This treatment might still be possible through private care.