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NHS dental services

How to find an NHS dentist

Everyone should be able to access good-quality NHS dental services. There is no need to register with a dentist. Simply find a practice that's convenient for you, whether it's near your home or work, and phone them to see if any appointments are available. Ask if you’re not sure whether the practice provides NHS care.

To find a dentist, you can search for a dentist near you or call NHS 111.

If the dental practice you first contact is full or doesn't provide NHS care, this doesn’t mean that no NHS dental care is available locally. Contact NHS England, they will be able to tell you which dentist in your area currently accepts patients. NHS England is required to commission services to meet the needs of their local population, for both urgent and routine dental care.

There may be a high demand for NHS dentists in some areas, and you may have to join a waiting list. You can do that by contacting NHS England. You’ll be contacted as soon as an appointment is available. 

If you feel that NHS England is not fulfilling its obligation to provide you with dental services, you have the right to complain. First, tell NHS England you are not happy with the service provided. If you're not satisfied with its response, you can complain to the independent Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Find out more about the NHS complaints procedure.

You can get help and advice on any aspect of dental care or making a complaint from your local Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). Search for your local PALS.


The 6 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

snappersforum said on 11 March 2014

like angie I have been trying to register with dentist for several years, I became disabled last year and now lost job which makes things even worse, ended up at a&e at weekend with abscess advised need to see dentist asap for referral for further treatment once abscess goes down.

Needle in haystack as it is compounded by some not having disabled access and gums worsened as one of probs with ME is gum issues. Already lost several teeth due to been unable to find a nhs dentist,

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angiegweeble said on 25 January 2014

I have used the find a dentist link and phoned quite a few of the dentists that are supposed to be taking on patients but when I phone them, they are not!!! Having to phone every dentist every couple of weeks is not feasible. I have moved a few times recently, and have not been able to get into a dentists now for about 3 years and my gums and teeth are getting very bad. Obviously, the longer this goes on, the more damage and the more cost involved, that's if my teeth are saveable by that time! . I cannot afford to travel far as I am now out of work for the first time in my life. I am grinding my teeth in my sleep, and this is making matters worse. I am having problems eating because of this, which in turn is causing digestion problems. There should be a system where if no NHS dentist is available, that treatment should be available at a totally private one? When I go to the emergency dentists and have another abscess dealt with, or another tooth that has become beyond repair, I am told I must get booked into a dentist to get work done, but back to the same problem........No NHS Dentists!

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SargeRIS9 said on 23 August 2013

An existing bridge and the connecting tooth fell out, still fixed together, after a bad infection. Went to my local NHS dentist but was told I would need to see the main dentist at that practice who was away at the time. I eventually got to see him and it was diagnosed that I need a double bridge. This is a space of two teeth between a good tooth and my front central crown.
He said he would handle this from now on rather than my previous dentist there. He said the whole thing would cost £2000. I reluctantly agreed and though expensive but assumed that the bridge work and temporary bridge and associated work was going to cost that much as an NHS patient. He never told me I was private patient in the NHS practice there! Yesterday I had the temp double bridge removed, x-ray and various impressions before and after he had removed the temp bridge. I left with the temp bridge back in place and have an appointment in two weeks to finish and fit the final double bridge. After the treatment yesterday he asked me to sign a document which does say on the front...NHS charges 0, Other charges £2000, I only signed the second page when he said can I sign for the treatment I've had. I took my copy and that's when I finally realised I am in fact paying private rather than NHS costs. Of course half way through the treatments which lasts a couple of months etc, one is still in their hands and wants the job properly completed. Its left a nasty taste in mouth (excuse the pun) as I walked in there as NHS patient but now find none of this work is NHS at all, and all private. He never ever said to me that we will do some NHS and some private! All he said was "I'll personally be taking this on from now on but the cost will be £2000. I have paid £1000 of this already through various stages of the work involved, but should I see him in two weeks to finish the work as I'm desperate to get if done and finally out of the way, Feel I should be paying NHS costs!

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Extremely annoyed said on 10 December 2012

I had a bridge fitted 6 months ago and had been back since because the tooth fell out. On Friday it fell out once again and the earliest appointment was for today. I said that I didn't want to see the last dentist as I wasn't happy with his work. The practice told me that he had left so I would see another one anyway. The dentist today told me that I should never had had a bridge fitted in the first place due to my bite but that I need a denture or an implant. I was very cross about this and said that the previous dentist never told me about the bridge not being suitable. I also said that the practice should then deduct the cost of the bridge off the treatment they are suggesting. The dentist said that they wouldn't do that and that I would need to take this up with the previous dentist ( who has left the practice!)
This dentist said that the denture would cost £1200 and the implant £ 2000. The cost has in fact doubled as the previous dentist told me the cost of an implant would be £1000 . I am furious about this. Firstly I have paid (£250) for a bridge which was not suitable Secondly the practice are not willing to replace the tooth free . Thirdly the practice are now stating charges which are 100% higher than quoted not 6 months ago. I am an NHS patient. Any advice will be gratefully received.

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Asim Riaz said on 16 October 2012

I've been trying to get myself and my family registered since ages. PCT in my area said that you have to ring all the dentist in your area and ask them if they are taking any new patient. But this is what I've been doing sice last 8 years. Every time when I call them they says they are full. Even if it's mention on the websites that they are taking new patient. Tried even complaining about this and asked every one regarding this matter , no help so far, I m 33 years old I've got 2 kids 5 n 3 years old, receiving letters from their schools to get them registered but can't find any place.

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kamel1960 said on 18 September 2012

my tooth was hurting me on 17 09 2012 i left work early to find an emergency dentist
i went to dentist where i use to go in burmantoft Leeds they give a number to ring which is
03456059999 I rang them a nice guy answer he took my details took my phone number
for a nurse to call me back after half hour i received a phone call from a nurse telling me what to do
and give me another number to ring witch is 0113 3057370 i rang the number and explained to the woman over
the phone my situation and she give me another number witch she said they help you the number is
08002985787 i rang the number and it was busy tried again 3 times and is a same i left my details as asked
they rang me back, after talking to the guy about my problem he give another number and guess what ,a same number
03456059999 to start all over again

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Page last reviewed: 29/02/2012

Next review due: 28/02/2014

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