Bupa Dental Cover for Private and NHS Patients: Is It Right for You?


Having dental cover is a good way to protect against unexpected costs in the future. But with so many providers offering insurance in the UK, it can be hard to choose between them. Here we look at the different plans offered by Bupa dental insurance so you can make a better decision.

About Bupa

Bupa dental care
Bupa has its own network of dental centres

Bupa is a well-known name in healthcare both in the UK and overseas. The company recently celebrated its 70th anniversary, having been founded in Britain in April 1947.

Bupa has its own care homes, health centres and dental centres across the UK. It has been offering direct dental care since 1999 and now has a network of its own dental centres as well as 200+ Bupa-approved dental clinics.

People often associate Bupa with private health care, but the provider also offers plans which cover NHS dental treatment. Dental plan costs may therefore be more affordable than you imagined.

With Bupa’s dental policies there is no obligation to visit a Bupa-approved dentist. You may continue to see your regular dentist and still claim under your policy. However, one benefit of visiting a Bupa-owned dental centre is that there is less paperwork involved with any claims you make.

And as the video below from the British Dental Association shows, there are flaws with the NHS system which mean many patients prefer to seek private treatment.

Bupa dental insurance plans

Bupa offers three different insurance plans with different levels of cover: Dental Health Plan, Dental Cover 10 and Dental Cover 20.

Although Bupa provides international health insurance separately, none of its dental plans include cover for overseas treatment.

In addition, all three plans exclude anything related to dental implants, purely cosmetic work (including orthodontics), and treatment arising from pre-existing conditions.

Dental Health Plan

The most basic plan covers the cost of regular checkups and cleanings with an allowance for emergency treatment. There is full cover for oral cancer treatment. For any other types of restorative treatment such as fillings, root canals, extractions and crowns, you’ll get a 20% discount on Bupa’s standard prices.

If your teeth are in good condition and you rarely need fillings or other dental work, this could be a good way to protect yourself against unexpected costs arising from emergency treatment or oral cancer. However, any work needed as the result of an injury is charged at the same 80% rate as standard treatment.

Dental Cover 10

Bupa dental care
All NHS dental treatments are covered

Bupa’s Dental Cover 10 plan covers 100% of the cost of your NHS dental treatment, up to annual limits. This includes:

  • Routine checkups
  • X-rays
  • Scaling and polishing
  • Restorative work like fillings, root canals and crowns
  • Extractions
  • Bridges and dentures
  • Certain emergency dental care

There is also full reimbursement of costs relating to oral cancer treatment, if carried out at an approved facility by a Bupa partner consultant. A six month waiting period applies to this element of the cover.

This policy only applies to adults aged 18 and over since any treatment for younger patients is free on the NHS.

Dental Cover 20

This more comprehensive plan covers all checkups plus treatment needed in relation to emergencies, injuries and oral cancer, up to the limits shown in the table below. For any other treatment, up to 75% of the cost is covered with an annual limit of £700.


The following table summarises the dental insurance plans available from Bupa:

Dental Health Plan Dental Cover 10 Dental Cover 20
Routine care (checkups, scale & polish, x-rays, etc.) 2 checkups and cleanings, unlimited x-rays 100% of NHS costs reimbursed Up to £150 per year
Dental treatment (fillings, extractions, root canals, dentures, bridges, crowns, etc.) 20% discount on regular prices 100% of NHS costs reimbursed Up to 75% of treatment costs, maximum £700 per year
Emergency dental treatment Up to £400 for each emergency, maximum £1,000 per year 100% of NHS costs reimbursed Up to £600 per year
Dental injury treatment 20% discount on regular prices 100% of NHS costs reimbursed Up to £5,000 per year
Oral cancer treatment 100% reimbursed, 6 month waiting period 100% reimbursed, 6 month waiting period 100% reimbursed, 6 month waiting period
All information correct as of October 2018.

So, as you can see, the three levels of dental cover from Bupa have quite different benefit structures.

Bupa doesn’t advertise fixed prices for its dental insurance plans, and you can expect costs to vary depending on your age and previous oral health history. Waiting periods may apply to certain treatments but you’ll need to check your personal quotation for details.

Before buying

Make sure you read all the small print carefully and understand what you are and are not covered for. Bupa’s policies don’t offer any provision for worldwide cover whereas other comparable policies do, so this may be a consideration if you travel frequently.

Waiting times can catch some patients out, so also be clear on how long you’ll have to wait before becoming eligible for certain types of treatment.

If you’re after insurance for private dental care, alternatives to Bupa dental insurance include Simplyhealth and Dencover.

Alternatively, you can read more about choosing the right dental insurance and saving money on your cover here.

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Bupa Dental Cover for Private and NHS Patients: Is It Right for You?
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