The NHS is a fantastic asset. In dentistry, the NHS provides all dental treatment required to maintain your oral health at minimal or no cost upfront. The prices are artificially set low by the government and subsidised by taxes.
While the current system promises all and every treatment required, it is designed minimise cost and maximise availability. The funding available for each course of treatment is limited so that NHS dentists are incentivised to provide the cheapest and fastest acceptable, basic treatments. This is good for public health and means your taxes are spent treating as many people as possible, but ultimately must limit the level of care and time that can be spent providing each treatment.
In private dentistry, the level of care is not limited not by the government, only by the skills of the dentist and what you are willing to pay. This opens up an array of alternative and advanced treatments and materials that are not offered routinely on the NHS because they are too expensive, and the dentist can spend as long as required to provide the treatment to her or his best ability.
Private dentists’ prices vary widely according to their level of skill and experience, location, and hours of service. Expensive dentists may have undertaken extra training in special interests, or may be offering evening and weekend appointments perhaps in a prime location like a city centre. While cheaper dentists may have less experience and training or may be in less desirable locations with only daytime appointments.
Of course prices are not always indicative of the quality or level of service. The best way to find out why a dentist charges more or less than the local competition is to ask. Most dentists will be very happy and comfortable explaining their prices and the reasoning behind them.