A new payment system which will increase funding to dentists and incentivise them to stay in the NHS has come into effect.
Dental teams providing NHS care and treatment will receive increased fees under a new payment structure to help them provide a comprehensive range of treatment.
The Scottish Government said the new structure will streamline payments, cut bureaucracy and give them greater authority over the treatments offered.
Check-ups will continue to be free for all patients, with pregnant women and new mothers, those claiming certain benefits, and the under-26s remaining exempt from treatment charges – around a quarter of all adult NHS dental patients.
Earlier this week, the Scottish Government was criticised for moving the standard dental check-up recall from six months to 12 months.
Scottish Labour MSP Paul Sweeney said the government had “shifted the goalposts”.
Public Health Minister Jenni Minto said: “Our aim with this payment reform is to incentivise dentists to remain in the NHS, provide long-term sustainability to the sector, and improve access for patients.
“Replacing the existing fees with a new improved set will allow dentists to provide a full range of NHS care and treatment, while those unable to pay will continue to get help.
“All patients will continue to receive free NHS dental examinations and I want to reassure those who are exempt from NHS dental charges – including children and young people under 26, and those on certain benefits – they will continue to receive free care and treatment.
“People on a low income are also eligible for support, details of which can be found on NHS Inform.”
A new campaign has also been launched called Brush Up which aims to help people know where to get information and help to meet the costs.
General Dental Council chairman Lord Toby Harris said: “It’s important that everyone knows what to expect from dental healthcare. Dental professionals across the UK understand that patients’ interests must come first.
“They also know that this principle is woven through their professional standards. Everyone should have confidence that the whole dental team will continue to prioritise patients’ interests.”
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