How Do I Find an NHS Dentist in the UK? Complete Guide

NHS Dentist

How Do I Find an NHS Dentist in the UK? Complete Guide

Finding an NHS dentist in the UK can sometimes feel like you’re trying to solve a complex puzzle. But, with the right info and some know-how, getting a dental appointment can be easy. You may be new to an area or need a dentist for specific treatments. This guide will walk you through the steps to find the dental care you need.

Understanding NHS Dental Services

NHS dental services in the UK are designed to be cost-effective and accessible. Every resident has the right to access NHS dental care, but the first step is finding a dentist who is taking new patients.

Where to Start Your Search

  1. NHS Website: The NHS website is your first port of call. It offers a comprehensive ‘Find a dentist’ service where you can search for dental practices near you that offer NHS services. The website provides up-to-date information. It says whether practices are accepting new patients. It also gives contact details and sometimes user reviews.
  2. Direct Enquiries: Sometimes, the best approach is the direct one. Call local practices to inquire about registration and appointment availability. It’s also wise to ask how up-to-date their information is on the NHS website to ensure you’re getting accurate details.
  3. Your local Healthwatch is valuable. It provides information on accessing health services, including dental care. They can show which local dentists are taking new patients. They may help with special requests, like accessibility or specialist treatments.

Booking Your Appointment

Once you’ve found a dental practice that suits your needs, the next step is to secure an appointment. Be prepared that you might have to wait, especially if you’re looking for routine dental work. Urgent care is typically prioritized and might be quicker to arrange.

What if You Can’t Find a Dentist?

If you’re struggling to find an NHS dentist taking new patients, don’t be disheartened. Here are a few tips:

  • Expand your search. Consider looking in broader areas, possibly outside your local area but still accessible.
  • Stay Updated: New patient slots can open up at any time. Regularly check the NHS website or keep in touch with local practices.
  • Contact NHS 111: If you need urgent care and can’t find a dentist, NHS 111 can direct you to the nearest urgent dental service.

Can a Private Dentist Refer To The NHS

Handling Dental Emergencies

For dental emergencies, like severe pain, bleeding, or a tooth or mouth accident, you need to act fast.

  • Contact Your Dentist: If you already have a dentist, try to get an emergency appointment.
  • Use NHS 111: If you can’t reach a dentist, dial 111 for advice and direction to urgent care.
  • Visit A&E for severe cases. This is especially true if they involve trauma to the face or jaw. You may need to head to the Accident and Emergency department of your local hospital.

Understanding NHS Dental Charges

NHS dental charges are standardized into three bands based on the treatment required. It’s important to understand what you might need to pay:

  • Band 1: This covers your examination, diagnosis, and advice. If necessary, it also includes X-rays, a scale and polish, and planning for further treatment.
  • Band 2: Includes all treatments in Band 1, plus additional treatments like fillings, root canal work, or removal of teeth.
  • Band 3 covers all treatments in Bands 1 and 2. It also covers more complex procedures like crowns, dentures, and bridges.

Patients in some categories may be eligible for free dental care. These categories include children, pregnant women, and those on specific benefits. Always check your eligibility before your appointment to avoid unexpected charges.


Finding an NHS dentist in the UK might take time and flexibility. But, it’s possible with the right approach. Use all resources. These range from the NHS website to local health services. Also, keep your options open. With a proactive attitude and a bit of persistence, you’ll be able to access the dental care you and your family need. Remember, maintaining oral health is crucial for your overall wellbeing, so take the time to secure your dental care today.