NHS Dentistry

Useful Organisations and Contact Details

The British Dental Health Foundation


The British Dental Health Foundation is a charity dedicated to improving the oral health of the public. They provide expert, free and impartial advice to the public - online and via a confidential dental helpline. For urgent advice on any oral health issue they can be contacted on 0845 063 1188.

The General Dental Council


The purpose of the General Dental Council (GDC) is to ensure patients are protected. Every dental professional working in the United Kingdom should be GDC registered and must meet certain standards and expectations in order to get on and stay on their registers.

A picture of a N.H.S. dentist treating a child

Making Appointments

Patients no longer need to be registered with their dentist, but this does not mean that you cannot continue to see your usual dentist if their NHS contract allows it. If you ask for an appointment, your dental practice will try to offer you one as soon as possible at a convenient time within the hours they have set aside for NHS patients.

You can choose which dentist you would like to see at the practice, but it may not always be possible to arrange this because the particular dentist may not have any NHS time available.

NHS dentists will, where necessary, provide treatment that is needed urgently. Urgent treatment means treatment that the dentist considers necessary to relieve severe pain or prevent your oral condition deteriorating before you can make a normal appointment. Out of hours you should call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

NHS patient charges

If you pay NHS charges, instead of paying a proportion of the cost of your treatment, you will pay one of four fixed charges relating to the type of care and treatment you have had. The charge bands are given below. If you have a check-up and two fillings, for example, you will pay one Band 2 charge of £50.50 (or £41.10 if you live in Wales). If you need a crown as well, you will pay one Band 3 charge of £219.00 (or £177.00 if you live in Wales). If you need three crowns you will also pay one Band 3 charge of £219 (or £177.00 if you live in Wales).

NHS dental care is still free to children under 18 or under 19 in full-time education as well as pregnant women and new mothers and people on certain state benefits.

Your dental practice team will be happy to answer any questions you have about the new charges. These charges apply from 1st April 2014.

Treatment Bands


Examples of treatment

Patient Charge

Band 1:

Clinical examination, x-rays, scaling and polishing, preventative dental work such as oral hygiene instruction
(Wales: £13.50)

Band 2:

Fillings, extractions, surgical procedures

Band 3: Complex treatment which includes a laboratory element such as bridgework, crowns and dentures £233.70

Reminders and recalls

At the end of your course of treatment, your dentist will discuss with you when you will need to see a dentist again. NHS dentists will now follow guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on how often patients need to see their dentist, according to their oral health needs. It is no longer the norm for NHS patients to have two NHS check-ups each year, if they do not need them. The Department of Health wishes NHS resources to be allocated to those who need it most. You can of course visit your dentist more often privately if you prefer to talk to your dentist more regularly about your oral health needs, have a regular visit to the hygienist and have the reassurance that all is well.

Private care

NHS patients can opt to have part of their treatment privately. Private treatment gives you more time with your dentist as well as personal service, greater choice of materials and higher quality laboratory work for a better aesthetic result. There is also a greater range of treatment options available as cosmetic treatment is excluded from the NHS. Because the NHS charges are changing, some private treatment may even be cheaper.

Click here to find out more about private dentistry


If you are unable to keep your appointment, please let your dental practice know as soon as possible so that they can use the appointment for another patient on their waiting list.

When your practice is closed

If you need dental advice or care when the practice is closed please telephone NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

Further Information

For more information on the changes in NHS dentistry, please see the NHS Direct website www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk or www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk

Finding a Dentist.

Both the BDA and the NHS offer “Find a Dentist” websites.

To find a NHS or private dentist in the UK please visit www.bda-findadentist.org.uk .

To find a NHS dentist in England; please visit http://www.nhs.uk/England/Dentists/Default.aspx

in Wales; http://www.wales.nhs.uk/directory.cfm

in Northern Ireland http://www.centralservicesagency.com/display/howtofindadentist

There is currently no service provided by the NHS for locating a dentist in Scotland.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here to view our Dental FAQ's

British Dental Association