You can search for a dentist near you using the NHS website. Dentists don’t have specific catchment areas. That means you can find a dentist to suit you in any area, whether that’s near your home, work, or another convenient location.
You may find that some dentists have a waiting list for NHS appointments. Others may not be able to take on new NHS patients at all. Contact several practices to find one who can.
Your area may also have a dental access centre, which can treat people who don’t have a regular NHS dentist. Contact your local NHS Area Team if you aren’t sure what’s available in your area. The local dental helpline, which can be contacted on 0300 123 4412, will provide details of local dental practices providing NHS Care.
There are also private dentists and those who offer a mixture of NHS and private appointments. A dentist who has all their NHS slots filled may have private appointments available, but these will be charged differently to NHS appointments.
If you have a medical condition or disability that makes it difficult to use a local dental surgery, there may be a community dental service. These services have easy access into the surgery, or other adaptations suited for people with physical disabilities. They also have dentists who have received training in treating patients with special requirements.
Contact NHS England on 0300 311 2233 to find out if there is a service in your area.
NHS England South East Area Team
18-20 Massetts Road
Surrey RH6 7DE
Your dentist or GP may need to refer you to a local service.
When to go to A&E
Only visit A&E in serious circumstances, such as:
If you're not sure whether you should go to A&E, contact NHS 111, who will be able to advise you.
Use the above if you cannot get access routine dental services particularly for children with severe tooth pain and decay
If, as a Veteran or Reservist you have a service related mouth injury, ensure that you are registered with an NHS Dentist; you should have priority to get on any lists and to have any required care or treatment under the NHS.
If you are in receipt of certain benefits i.e. Armed Forces Independence Payment, then you should be able to apply for lower rate dental care. You will need to complete the HC1 Form.
You don't have to pay for NHS dental treatment if you're:
If you are a Veteran and have no service related injury you will be treated as the rest of the population. If you are in a hot spot area you may have difficulty accessing a dental service. In this scenario, you are not being disadvantaged in comparison to your local population.
If you are a family member of a Serving person who is moving around due to their service, then there is a case for you to go to the top of a waiting list when they open. This is because you may be being disadvantaged due to frequent moves and so could never get on a list. You may also be undertaking treatment at the time of the move.
As a reservist, when you are being deployed you should not be taken off any list if you are unable to meet the regular check-up dates. This would result in you being disadvantaged under the Armed Forces Covenant.
If after contacting several dental practices you still cannot find a dentist accepting NHS patients, you should call NHS England's Customer Contact Centre on 0300 311 2233.
NHS England commissions dental services in England and is required to meet the needs of their local population for both urgent and routine dental care.