3 min read

Free dental care and prescriptions

Some things in life are free, and fortunately when you’re pregnant and during your baby’s first year dental care and prescriptions are a couple of them. Read our article to find out how to claim and make the most of your free dental care and prescriptions.

Close up of a bathroom tap, with a bar of soap on one side and a glass with toothbrushes and toothpaste on the other.

Having a child is probably one of the most expensive things you’ll ever do. The cost of childcare alone can be very costly. So anything that can help reduce outgoings, such as free dental care, is welcome news to new parents.

Dental Care

During your pregnancy and for 12 months after the birth, you’ll be entitled to free dental care. Some dentists require you to fill out a form. But most accept the MATB1 certificate or a valid Maternity Exemption Certificate (MatEx). Your doctor or midwife will give you one of these at the 20-week check up.


NHS prescriptions are also free when you’re pregnant, and for the 12 months after your child is born. You have to have a valid Maternity Exemption Certificate (MatEx) which you can claim using a form FW8. Your doctor, midwife or health visitor should be able to give you one. You need to fill out parts 1 & 2 and they can then sign it and send it back to the NHS. Your card should be processed quickly but if you haven’t received it in a few weeks you can call the NHS Help with Health Costs enquiry line on 0300 330 1343.

“Get your toddler used to going to the dentist by taking them to your own appointments from about two years old.”

Your Child

Children also receive free dental care under 16 years of age. And up to 18 if they’re still in full-time education. You need to fill out the exemption form the dentist gives you each time on arrival, to enable their free treatment. Children under 16 should be accompanied by an adult each time they go.

Prescriptions are also free for all children under 16 years of age, and up until 19 if still in qualifying full-time education. Again, you just need to sign the back of the prescription form at the chemist when you go to collect it.

A bit of research and budgeting when you’re expecting, can help keep costs low.


Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Talking Finance content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions.