End of NHS Provision

Transition to Denplan

You may have received a letter from us recently informing you that the Essex Smile Centre is leaving the NHS and inviting you to transition to a Denplan scheme. This change will come into effect on 31st May 2022.

We understand you will require more details regarding these changes taking place, so we have provided some answers below to the most common questions we are hearing from our patients.

Why are you leaving the NHS?

We must firstly stress that this is not a decision we have taken lightly. However, in order to continue offering the best level of care to our patients today, we feel this is the right decision.

Over the past 18 months, it has become increasingly difficult for us to provide the level of NHS dentistry required to fulfil our obligations to the NHS. We simply cannot offer the volume of appointments needed or recruit suitable dentists to work within the system. This in turn means our patients do not receive the service they deserve.

For many reasons we believe the right level of dental care can only be provided to our patients today on a private basis. These include the availability of appointments, longer appointment times and the ability to provide a more personal service. We will also be able to offer you cosmetic treatments that may not be available under the NHS.

Are you doing this to make more money?

Absolutely not. In fact, these changes are likely to result in higher costs for our practice. Our primary objective is to guarantee the right quality of treatment and customer service for our patients – something which has become very challenging under the NHS system of dentistry.

I’m on benefits, does this change anything?

Unfortunately not. After 31st May 2022, we will not be offering any NHS dentistry at The Essex Smile Centre.

What are my options now?

To continue being seen at The Essex Smile Centre after 31st May 2022, you can either attend as a private fee patient or join one of our affordable plans.

Isn’t private treatment very expensive?

We would love you to remain a patient at the practice, which is why we have worked hard with Denplan to create a choice of affordable plans that will ensure our loyal patients can continue to be treated here.

Many of our patients have been receiving care through Denplan or as private patients for several years now and we are sure we can find an option plan that will work for you.

Our Denplan options can be viewed on the Denplan page of our website. We are also offering a competitively priced children’s plan as well as free check-ups for 5 and unders when they attend with their parent (the parent must be attending for a private appointment or as a Denplan patient).

For those who do not wish to join a dental plan at this time, our private fees remain competitively priced and you have the option to continue being seen as a private patient.

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    So what will happen now?

    To be seen at the Essex Smile Centre after 31st May 2022, you’ll either need to be registered as a Denplan patient or see your dentist on a private basis.  If you do not wish to register with Denplan, please contact us to be registered as a private patient and book in for a check-up if you are due. If you have been seen in the last two years, check-ups cost £49.50.  If you have not been seen in the last two years, we will need to undertake a more intensive examination to get you registered at a cost of £75.00. 

    How do I sign up to Denplan?

    How to join Denplan Essentials

    1. Visit www.denplan.co.uk/patientapply and enter the practice reference as per the letter you received. Enter your unique patient reference and choose either Option A or Option B. Follow the instructions to complete your application.
    2. Call Simplyhealth Professionals on 0800 085 5205 or 01962 828051 Please read through all the enclosed information before calling. Opening hours are 9:00 – 17:30 Monday to Thursday and 9:00 – 17:00 on Friday.
    3. Visit the Essex Smile Centre in person where our team will be available to answer any questions and register you on Denplan Essentials. You’ll need your letter and your bank details to complete your application. If you’re registering any additional family members, you will also need their unique patient references. Please note that there is a one-off registration fee of £15 per adult which is collected with your first payment.

    Denplan has always been worth it & very convenient not having to worry about paying every visit. Very good friendly service, clean and hygienic environment and if any problems always get a quick appointment.

    Mrs Kay


    Are there family discounts available with Denplan?

    Yes, we can offer family discounts for adults but not for the children. You’ll receive 5% for 2 adult members on the same plan and 10% for 3. These plans must be paid out of the same bank account by direct debit.

    Will the cost increase over time?

    As with NHS fees, Denplan and private fees are reviewed periodically. However, if you are an existing NHS patient, your Denplan fees will be frozen for at least the first 12 months.

    Is there a Denplan registration fee?

    Only for adults – not for children. The fee is £15.00 per adult.

    Is Denplan worth it if I only visit the dentist once a year?

    You may decide to become a private patient and our private fees are shown on the fees page of our website. Alternatively, we do have a Denplan category that covers one check-up and one hygienist visit per year. You will also benefit from a 10% on our private fees should you require any treatment. Please contact our friendly receptionists for more details.

    I don’t want to be tied into a contract

    Unlike many contracts such as your phone or gym membership, you can cancel your Denplan membership with just 21 days’ notice. There is also a 14-day cooling off period after you have signed up.

    I have paid into the NHS all my life – I am entitled to NHS treatment

    A small percentage of your National Insurance contribution funds dentistry but that contribution has not kept pace with the advancements in dentistry. NHS dentistry is being stretched further and we feel we cannot continue to deliver the quality of service you deserve under the NHS.

    As a long-standing NHS patient, where is your loyalty to me?

    Over the past 18 months, we have tried our best to make NHS dentistry work within the practice. We now feel these changes are essential but, rather than simply turning patients away, we have worked very hard with Denplan to create some affordable dental plans for our valued patients.

    I have been seeing my dentist for years. They will want to make an exception for me

    Unfortunately, after 31st May 2022, our practice will no longer have an NHS contract. You are a valued patient at the Essex Smile Centre and your dentist would love to continue seeing you either as a Denplan patient or on a private pay as you go basis. Our friendly receptionists will be happy to run through these options with you.

    The letter says you will no longer be seeing patients on the NHS from 31st May 2022. Can I come in before then please?

    Most of our NHS appointments have already been allocated in the lead up to this deadline but if you are due your NHS check-up, we’ll do our best to fit you in.

    Where can I go for NHS treatment now?

    We are very sorry if this means we will lose you as a patient, but you must do what is right for you.

    We would love to continue seeing you here at the Essex Smile Centre but that would be either as a private or plan patient. If you feel that neither of these options is appropriate and wish to source NHS care elsewhere, we suggest you look at the NHS Choices website or call 111.

    Unfortunately, you may find it difficult to find another NHS dentist as other practices are also struggling to offer NHS treatment.