An NHS dentist is a dentist who has agreed to provide NHS dental services. Some dentists may provide a mixture of NHS and private care.
How to find an NHS dentist
What to expect at your check-up
At your check-up, your dentist should run through the following checklist:
- a thorough examination of your mouth, teeth and gums
- an explanation of your treatment options (letting you know what can be provided on the NHS or privately)
- an explanation of how much your NHS and/or private treatment will cost
- a discussion about how often you need to attend for appointments
How often to go to the dentist
Your dentist will recommend a date for your next visit based on your individual oral health needs.
It is no longer standard to have a check-up with your dentist every 6 months. People with good oral health may now only need to attend once every 12 to 24 months. You should follow your dentist’s advice on how often you need to attend.
NHS charges for dental treatment
If you pay for NHS dental treatment there are standard charges, which can be found on NHS.UK.
It is best to ask your dentist how much your individual treatment plan will cost beforehand, so that you are clear about how much you have to pay before the treatment starts. You should also check if you are getting NHS or private treatment.
You do not have to pay for NHS dental treatment if you are:
- under 18 or under 19 and receiving full-time education
- pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months
- staying in an NHS hospital and your treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist
Emergency dental care
If you experience severe dental pain outside of normal working hours, you should contact the Out of Hours Dental Emergency and Advisory Service by calling NHS 111.
This service is available from 18.30 to 22.00 Monday to Friday and 09.00 to 21.00 on Saturday, Sundays and national holidays e.g. Christmas Day, etc.
If you need to see an emergency dentist in normal working hours you can visit the Dental Emergency Clinic. Adults are seen on a first come first served basis so it would be worth arriving early or ring to check availability on 0191 282 4664.
What if I am housebound?
If you are housebound and can’t get out, you might be able to get a home visit from your dentist at no extra cost. Some treatments might be able to be carried out in your own home but it is better to visit the dental surgery even if this means making appropriate transport arrangements.
If your own dentist doesn’t make home visits, you may be able to get one from the local community dental health service. Ask your dentist for advice, or contact your local community dental health service. The services are open to patients Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm and are closed for lunch between 12.30pm and 1.30pm. Based at Molineux Street NHS, Centre, Arthur’s Hill Clinic, Kenton Centre and Walker Centre.
Complaining about your dental treatment
If you wish to make a complaint about the care or service provided by your NHS dentist or dental practice, you should contact the person responsible for the practice complaints procedure. Your dentist will try to resolve your complaint at this stage. You can get support to help you to do this.
Alternatively, you may feel that you need to take the complaint to a more formal level by using the NHS Complaints Procedure. You can find out more about informal and formal approaches to complaining in our section How to complain about health services.
If you wish to make a complaint about private dental services, you should contact the Dental Complaints Service.
Other Useful Information
- Healthy teeth
- Oral Health Foundation
- Northern Head and Neck Cancer Charity aims to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms head and neck cancers.
- NHS 111 is an urgent health service. You can call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help, whatever the time.
- NHS.UK is a website providing health and medicines information and you can search for local services.
Please note – The content on this website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you are feeling unwell, make an appointment to see your GP or contact NHS 111. In an emergency, dial 999.
Last updated: September 1, 2020