NHS Dentist

Are Private Fillings Better Than NHS? Complete Guidance

When it comes to dental care, one common question is whether private fillings are better than NHS fillings. NHS dentistry is more affordable. Many people wonder if it’s worth paying extra for private care. This article will explore the differences between private and NHS fillings. It will help you make an informed choice.

The Basics of Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are used to treat cavities and restore damaged teeth. Both NHS and private dentists offer fillings. But, they differ in the materials, costs, and overall experience.

Materials Used for Fillings

NHS fillings use amalgam. Amalgam is a mix of metals with silver, mercury, and tin. Amalgam is durable and long-lasting but has a noticeable silver colour that many find unattractive.

Private fillings often use composite resin. This material is tooth-colored. It can be matched to the shade of your natural teeth. This makes it nearly invisible. Composite fillings are also strong but may not last as long as amalgam.

Some private dentists also offer porcelain or gold fillings. These materials are very durable and can last for many years, but they are more expensive.

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Cost of Fillings

NHS fillings are more affordable because the government subsidises the cost. You pay according to a set fee structure, with prices that are much lower than private treatments.

Private fillings can cost more. This is especially true if you choose advanced materials, like porcelain or gold. However, many private practices offer payment plans that can help spread the cost over time.

Availability of Appointments

One of the biggest differences between NHS and private dental care is the availability of appointments. NHS dentists often have long waiting times due to high demand and limited funding. This means you might wait weeks or even months for a non-emergency appointment.

Private dentists usually have more flexible schedules. You can often get an appointment quickly, sometimes even on the same day. Private practices also offer evening and weekend appointments. This makes it easier to fit dental care into your busy life.

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Quality of Care

The quality of care can also differ between NHS and private dentists. NHS dentists are highly trained, but they work under strict time and budget constraints. This can sometimes affect the level of personalised care you receive.

Private dentists have more time to spend with each patient. They can offer a more personalised service, taking the time to explain treatments and answer questions. Private practices also tend to have more modern equipment and facilities.

Longevity and Durability

Amalgam fillings provided by the NHS are known for their durability. They can last for many years, making them a good option for those looking for a long-term solution.

Composite fillings offered by private dentists are strong, but they may not last as long as amalgam. They are more likely to wear down over time and may need replacing sooner. However, their natural appearance makes them a popular choice.

Cosmetic Appeal

For many people, the cosmetic appeal of fillings is important. NHS amalgam fillings are silver and can be visible when you talk or smile. This might not bother some, but others prefer a more natural look.

Private composite fillings are tooth-coloured and blend in with your natural teeth. This makes them an excellent choice for those who are concerned about the appearance of their fillings.

Pain and Sensitivity

Both NHS and private dentists use local anesthesia to numb the area before placing a filling. So, the procedure itself is usually painless. However, some people experience sensitivity or discomfort afterwards.

Composite fillings tend to cause less sensitivity than amalgam fillings. This is because composite materials bond directly to the tooth, providing a better seal and reducing the risk of sensitivity.

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Aftercare and Follow-Up

NHS dentists give aftercare instructions. But, it’s hard to schedule follow-up appointments due to busy schedules and high demand.

Private dentists often offer more comprehensive aftercare and follow-up services. They have more availability for check-ups and can provide detailed advice on how to care for your fillings to ensure they last as long as possible.


So, are private fillings better than NHS fillings? It depends on what you value most. If cost is your main concern. NHS fillings are an affordable and durable option. But, if you prioritize looks, personal care, and flexible appointments, private fillings might be worth the extra cost.

Both NHS and private fillings have their pros and cons. Consider your needs, budget, and preferences when deciding which option is best for you. Remember, the main thing is to get regular dental check-ups. Also, practice good oral hygiene to keep your teeth healthy and strong.

Visit Church Street Dental Practice for Your Dental Needs

At Church Street Dental Practice, we provide high-quality dental care tailored to meet your individual needs. Our experienced team is dedicated to offering the best possible treatments, whether you require NHS or private fillings. Schedule an appointment with us today and discover the benefits of personalised dental care.

Frequently Asked Question

How long do composite fillings last compared to amalgam fillings?

Composite fillings typically last 5-7 years, while amalgam fillings can last 10-15 years. However, the lifespan of any filling depends on factors such as oral hygiene, diet, and the location of the filling in your mouth.

Are composite fillings safe?

Yes, composite fillings are safe. They are made from a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles, and they bond directly to the tooth. They do not contain mercury, which is a concern for some people with amalgam fillings.

Can I switch my NHS amalgam fillings to private composite fillings?

Yes, you can switch your amalgam fillings to composite fillings. You will need to consult with your dentist, who can evaluate your fillings and discuss the best options for replacement.

Do private dentists offer payment plans for fillings?

Yes, many private dentists offer payment plans to help make dental treatments more affordable. These plans can spread the cost of fillings over several months. This makes it easier to manage the cost.

Will my dental insurance cover private fillings?

Coverage for private fillings depends on your dental insurance plan. Some plans may cover a portion of the cost, while others may not cover private treatments at all. It’s best to check with your insurance provider for specific details.