How to Find a Dentist
Everyone should be able to access good-quality dental services. There is no need to register with a dentist. Simply find a dental practice that's convenient for you, whether it's near your home or work, and phone them to see if any appointments are available. If you do not have a regular dental practice or are new to the area, you can search for an dentist near you on this site. Be aware that not all dental practices will have the capacity to take on new patients all the time and you may have to join a waiting list or contact multiple practices before you find an dentist with capacity to accept new patients.
The will provide any treatment that you need to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy and free of pain. Decisions about which treatment is appropriate for you will be based upon a clinical assessment and clinical judgement. Your dentist will offer you a treatment option that is clinically appropriate.
Your dentist must make clear to you which treatments can be provided under the and which can only be provided on a private basis so you can make an informed choice. Where alternative private options have been considered then your treatment plan should detail these options. You'll be asked to sign the plan and you'll be given a copy to keep.
Under the current arrangements, your dentist has to provide you with a written treatment plan for Band 2, Band 3 or a mix of and private treatments.Your treatment plan sets out the proposed dental treatment. Treatment plans are usually not given for Band 1 or urgent dental treatments, but you can ask for one if you like.
If you decide not to proceed with a certain treatment option then inform your dentist. Likewise, the dentist should inform you of any changes to the treatment plan as proposed treatment can sometimes change on further investigation or due to changes in your oral health following the initial assessment. Any changes to treatment should be discussed and agreed with you.
What to expect when you visit the dentist
When you see your dentist for a check-up, they will first carry out an examination or assessment.
If you haven’t seen a dentist for several years because of fear or anxiety, read our tips to ease fear of the dentist. Read about your dental team for an overview of the different professionals you may see at your dental practice.
At your check-up, your dentist will assess your current oral health, any risk of future disease, and advise you on the care and treatment required to secure good oral health. It is important that you try to keep your teeth healthy and clean to maintain good oral health.
At your check-up, your dentist may:
- carry out a full examination of your mouth, teeth and gums.
- ask about your general health and any problems you have had with your teeth, mouth or gums since your last visit.
- ask about and give advice on your diet, smoking and drinking.
- ask about your teeth-cleaning habits and give you advice on the most appropriateways to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy.
- explain any risks, as well as costs, of all treatment you may need.
- discuss with you when your next visit should be.
You don't necessarily need to see your dentist every six months. Your dentist will recommend how often you should come to see them, based on your current dental health.
If you have problems with your teeth between check-ups, contact your dental practice to make an earlier appointment.
Dental treatment for people with special needs
Most dentists will treat people with special needs in their surgery. However, some people may not be able to get to their dental practice because of a disability or medical condition. In this case, the dentist should refer the patient to a more specialised dental service. Ask your dentist what is needed for a referral and if it is suitable in your case.
Specialised dental services are commonly provided by community dental services. Community dental services are available in a variety of places to ensure everyone can have access to dental health. These include hospitals, specialist health centres and mobile clinics as well as home visits or visits in nursing and care homes. Some hospitals or health centres also help people who need specialist care and may be able to offer treatment under sedation or general anaesthetic.
People who may need community dental services include:
- children with extensive untreated tooth decay who are particularly anxious or uncooperative
- children with physical or learning disabilities or medical conditions
- children referred for specific treatment
- children who are 'looked after' or on the 'at risk register'
- adults with complex needs who have a proven difficulty in accessing or accepting care in general dental services, including adults with moderate and severe learning and physical disabilities or mental health problems
- adults with medical conditions who need additional dental care
- housebound and homeless people
Tips for your appointment
If you are referred to a specialist dental service ensure your dentist is forwarding all necessary documents.
Don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions about anything you don’t understand about your treatment or the costs involved. If necessary let the dentist explain it to your carer or family member.
If you have specific medical requirements, for example medication allergies, or fears make a note of it and tell your dentist at your first appointment.
Get help with dental costs
Dental charges depend on the treatment you need to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy. You will only ever be asked to pay one charge for each complete course of treatment, even if you need to visit your dentist more than once to finish it. If you are referred to another dentist for another, separate course of treatment, you can expect a second charge. Some minor treatments are free.