Visiting the dentists
What to expect when you visit the dentist
You do not have to register with a dentist to receive treatment. Therefore, you should not be asked to have an examination or pay for any private work before being accepted by an dentist.When you see your dentist for a check-up, they will first carry out an examination or assessment. This is the first part of each course of treatment and is included in the Band 1 (£18.80) charge.
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. Find out about emergency dental care.
The dental treatment plan
If your dentist recommends a Band 2 or Band 3 dental treatment, you'll be given a personal dental treatment plan (PDF, 19kb) in advance. This outlines all the treatments you are having on the and how much they will cost. If you are not given a treatment plan, ask for one. Treatment plans are usually not given for Band 1 dental treatments, but you can ask for one if you like.
If your dentist says you need a particular type of treatment, you should not be asked to pay for it privately. Where alternative private options have been discussed, then those options should be listed on your treatment plan. Separate details of private treatment and charges – usually on the same form as your treatment plan – should always be provided in writing before you commit to it. If this isn't done, query this immediately with the practice ormake an official complaint.
You'll be asked to sign the plan and you'll be given a copy to keep.
If you're unhappy about agreeing to your treatment plan or signing it, you have the right to say no to all or any of the recommended treatments. You also have the right to seek a second opinion from another dentist. However, you will have to pay another Band 1 fee for this new consultation.
If you decide not to proceed with a certain treatment option then inform your dentist. Likewise the dentist should inform you of any necessary changes to the treatment plan. A dentist may suggest a different treatment sometimes 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. If your dentist tries to change that course of treatment without your agreement, query this immediately with the practice or make an official complaint.
If you know you will not be able to attend an appointment then please give as much notice as possible to the dental practice so they can cancel your appointment and offer your slot to another patient. Your dentist can terminate your treatment if you miss your appointment without letting the dental practice know. You may then need to pay again for a new course of treatment.
While surgeries can’t charge you for not turning up,England has the right to ask you to find another dental practice if you continue to miss appointments.
When you visit your dental practice, the following should be clearly displayed:
a poster about current charges
the surgery's complaints procedure
a written statement about how the surgery meets the requirements for infection control, health and safety, X-rays and continuing professional development of dentists
In addition, you should be given a leaflet about the surgery and its services. If you cannot find any of the information, you have the right to ask for it.
Your dentist should not:
offer treatment to children on condition that a parent or guardian becomes a private patient
suggest that treatment is sub-standard
make you pay privately for an examination to assess whether you will be accepted for treatment
charge you for missed appointments for treatment
While surgeries can’t charge you for not turning up, England, has the right to ask you to find another dental practice if you continue to miss appointments.
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