NHS Dentistry Frequently asked questions
What happens when I register?
When you have been accepted as an NHS patient, your friendly receptionist will ask you for some information:
She will need your name, address and a medical history form
You will be asked to sign a form to register with the practice
Arrange for you to have a dental check-up
Give you a practice information leaflet:
– this will tell you about the practice and the services we have to offer
You can ask to register the whole family at the same time.
Children should be registered about six months old or as soon as their first tooth appears.
What happens after I have registered?
You will be given a suitable appointment for a dental check-up.
During the check-up, your friendly dentist will:
ask about any health problems and medication you are taking
examine your mouth, teeth and gums, x-rays may be taken
tell you how to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy, and
tell you if you need treatment.
If you need treatment, your friendly dentist will:
explain your options, including what treatments can be done on the NHS
let you know how much the treatment may cost and give you a printed estimate
give you a treatment plan setting out the treatment you need (see below for more information on treatment plans), and
arrange for you to come back for more treatment.
When you have registered with the practice, you can stay with the practice for as long as you wish. However, your friendly dentist may decide to end your registration, for example if you miss your appointments.
What is a treatment plan?
A treatment plan is a document that sets out:
the dental treatment you need to maintain a healthy mouth and gums
the total cost of treatment
you will receive a treatment plan and estimate at your check-up appointment, if this changes your friendly dentist will let you know. You will be given a copy to take away with you
What treatment can I get as an NHS patient?
As a registered NHS patient, you can get all the care, advice and treatment you need to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy.
If you want any cosmetic work, you will need to pay for it privately. Some treatments are not available under the NHS, for example:
white fillings in back teeth
white crowns on back teeth
dental implants and facial treatments
Most dentists who provide NHS treatment also offer private treatment. If you choose to get private treatment, your friendly dentist will:
tell you how much any private treatment will cost
explain your treatment options and give you an estimate of the cost
Will I have to pay for NHS treatment?
All adults over the age of 18 have to pay. In Scotland, NHS charges are set by the Scottish Government.
If you pay for treatment your friendly dentist will give you an estimate of the cost before treatment begins
Some adults may be entitled to free dental treatment.
NHS treatment is free if you receive any of the following:
have had a baby in the last 12 months, or are pregnant
get income support, Pension credit, income-based job seekers allowance, tax credits or have a current HC2/3 form.
You must tell your friendly dental team if don’t pay NHS charges or if you get help to pay them.
You will be asked to show proof of this. Please bring the relevant documents with you at your first appointment to prove your exemption.
Can my dentist stop providing NHS treatment?
Yes. Your friendly dentist can decide to stop providing NHS treatment.
You will normally be told about this at least three months in advance.
Your friendly dentist must first do their best to complete any care and treatment you need.
Can I change my dentist?
Yes you can change your dentist.
I am not registered with a dentist. Can I get NHS dental care?
Yes. You may still be able to receive occasional treatment under the NHS if you are not registered with a dentist. But you will need to find a dentist who agrees to give you occasional treatment.
If you visit a dentist as an occasional patient, you will not be able to receive the full range of NHS dental treatments and may be charged private.
What if I need dental care in an emergency?
If you are registered with a dentist:
during opening hours, contact your practice as early in the day as possible and we will try our best to fit you in
outside opening hours, call the practice and an answer-phone message will let you know how to get advice.
What can I expect from my dentist?
Your friendly dentist will:after you have registered your dentist will provide any NHS dental treatment you need to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthyexplain your treatment options and let you know what treatment can be done under the NHSgive you a printed estimate of the treatment cost and get you to sign a copylet you know about any changes to your treatmentY
Your friendly dentist will not:
ask you to become a private patient as a condition of giving your child NHS treatment
ask you to pay for a private check-up before they will accept you as an NHS patient
try to persuade you to have private treatment rather than NHS treatment
tell you that the treatment you need is not available under the NHS, if it is
ask you to pay a deposit before a check-up, whether this will be refunded to you or not, or
charge for treatment without first examining you.
What does my dentist expect from me?
attend all your dental appointments
give the practice 24-48 hours notice if you can not attend your appointment – failure to do so may result in a charge
let your dental practice know when any of your personal information changes
pay for your treatment at each visit
treat dental staff with respect, if you are abusive, violent or threaten a member of staff or another patient at your dental practice, your dentist can refuse to treat you and can end your registration immediately
follow advice on how to look after your mouth, teeth and gums
follow advice on how to look after your child’s mouth, teeth and gums
let your dentist know about any changes to your general health or to any medication
ask if you don’t understand something
What if I’m unhappy with my dental care?
If you are unhappy with your dental care, speak to your dentist or a member of staff at the practice
If you are still unhappy, you can make a complaint. The complaints procedure should be displayed in the practice