About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides a quarterly update on the number of NHS primary dental claims and selected treatments.

Main points

  • The number of examinations paid in the quarter ending March 2023 was 727,751; an increase of 7% compared to the previous quarter (680,769).
  • There were 964,449 NHS primary dental claims paid in the quarter ending March 2023. This represents an increase of 5% from 920,299 in the previous quarter.

Number of NHS primary dental claims, by payment quarter; Scotland 1,2

  1. From 1 April 2022: Dentists were allowed to de-escalate their infection prevention and control measures in line with national guidance to alleviate system pressures and allow an increase in patient throughput.
  2. These figures include triage claims which were not available before June 2020.


Dental claims are submitted by NHS dentists for activity monitoring or to claim payment for treatments and associated fees, such as issuing a prescription or orthodontic interim payments. Each claim may cover a single appointment or multiple appointments depending on the treatment provided.

NHS primary dental services have been affected throughout the course of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Due to the disruption to service provision, a financial support package was introduced for independent General Dental Service practices and as the service recovers, this is being reviewed.

An important factor influencing monitoring of activity levels has been the introduction of triage activity codes. These new codes were introduced on 22 June 2020 for use initially in Urgent Dental Care Centres (UDCCs) but were also then used across all NHS primary dental services during remobilisation. The codes include treatments such as: telephone advice, issuing prescriptions, undefined aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) and non-AGPs. These triage codes, which previously could not be claimed, may result in additional claims since June 2020.

As the triage codes include undefined AGP and non-AGP procedures, it is not possible to identify what procedures were undertaken unless other treatments are also recorded within the claim. Therefore, figures may undercount the number of treatments.

Further information

The next release for this publication will be August 2023.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.dental-info@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 21 March 2024
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