The NHS Dentist Finder

The NHS Dentist Finder website is at your service.
father and son brushing teeth
NHS is short for the British National Health Service, a publicly funded healthcare system that operates in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Only the English NHS can officially be called the National Health Service, the others are now termed NHS Wales, NHS Scotland and in Northern Ireland it is called “Social Care” or HSC and not the NHS.

Each of the four systems operates as a separate entity, although they are all financed and run by each government: the Welsh Parliament, Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, (0ver-seen by the UK Government).

NHS dentists are dental practitioners who will treat NHS patients, which means that patient pays only token amounts. In the case of children, the unemployed, retired people and pregnant women, they pay none of their dental charges. See below (on this page) for the panel on NHS charges.

We support the NHS and believes it is the best healthcare system in the world. But successive UK governments have diluted its value. When the UK government introduced a new contract in the spring of 2006, it reduced many people’s access to NHS dentistry in a stroke. Within two years 900,000 fewer patients were being treated on the NHS and 300,000 people lost access to it in a single month. Many people were forced to move to private treatment, which is much more expensive. Even so the NHS is a valued resource in the UK.

How The NHS Dentist Finder Works

picture of healthy teethIn theory, to receive NHS dental treatment, all you have to do is contact a neighbourhood practice that is happy to provide NHS dentistry and simply ask for an appointment “on the NHS”. If you are unsure whether or not the practice you select, will want to provide NHS care for you, just ask. Any that only operate a private practice is marked on this site with a bold red P, like this: P.

If you are experiencing difficulty getting treated, you can telephone your local Primary Care Trust’s Dental Access Helpline. You can find contact details on the main NHS website.

It is true that shortages of NHS dentist willing to take on new patients does exist pretty much all over the UK. But the situation is nowhere as bad as it was a few years ago. If the first dental practice you get in touch with is full or will not treat you on the NHS, this isn’t indication that you’ll not be able to find proper NHS dental care in your area. It pays to keep on trying. All dental care is important for proper dental hygiene.

Cosmetic Dentistry

It used to be that only actors and singers went in for cosmetic dental surgery, but these days it is available to everyone – at a price. And that’s where we come in useful again, by helping you choose the best cosmetic practicitioner for you. Whether you’re looking for teeth whitening (or maybe just tooth whitening!), caps, crowns or an invisible brace, you’ll be able to find a good dentist you can see. It probably will not be covered by the NHS, but there’s no reason why you should pay over the odds. For Teeth Whitening click the link.

These listings on this website are not meant to be complete and they do exclude a selection of dental practices we have had serious complaints about. Similarly because a dentist is not listed on this website, does not mean it is no good. Dental practice managers who want to see their practice included on the NHS Dentist Finder website are asked email us, using the email address listed on the About page.

Unless otherwise stated, all those listed on  NHS Dentist Finder are happy to accept new NHS patients, but this can and does change as dentists’ lists fill up, as people retire or circumstances change. You should always consult the official NHS website for up-to-date registration details. Alternatively, you can enquire at the dental surgeries listed on this website. Please enjoy this website and let us know of your experiences. Thanks.

NHS Dental Charges

As of April 1, 2012, NHS dentistry charges in England and Wales are:

  • Band 1 course of treatment – £17.50 (Wales £12.70). This includes the first examination, diagnosis, a scale and polish ( if needed) and x-rays. Plus you can receive a fissure sealant or fluoride varnish, and advice from the dentist on how to stop future problems. If your need is urgent, you will only be required to come up with a single Band 1 charge, despite the number of appointments it may need.
  • Band 2 course of treatment – £48.00 (Wales £41.10). This covers all the treatments in Band 1 (above), plus any further treatment that may be deemed necessary, including extractions, fillings,  and root canal work.
  • Band 3 course of treatment – £209.00 (Wales £177.00). This covers all the treatments listed in Bands 1 and 2 (above), as well as the making and fitting of bridges, crowns and dentures.

Different charges apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland. When NHS patients have to pay for their treatment, it is usual for a 20% discount  to be automatically levied (which includes to cost of any x-rays), up to a maximum of £384.

Private Treatments

The majority of UK dentists provide both NHS and private treatment for their patients. On the plus side, this means that you can have basic work to keep your teeth healthy performed on the NHS, with any cosmetic work you may want done privately, without having to be treated by two different practiotioners, whose approaches may differ. The negative aspect of this is that some dentists will try and push you to have private work performed on your teeth that you may not have wanted.

man and wife with toothbrushes and NHS dentist

Sometimes what is cosmetic and what is available freely under the NHS is not always made clear to the patient. Many (including the people at the NHS Dentist Finder website) believe that the 2006 Dental Contract was made deliberately vague and does not give patients any detailed guidance on exactly what treatment is available on the NHS. NHS regulations state that treatment must be “necessary” – and much is by choice rather than necessity. But what a patient might feel is necessary (such as a bridge) may have a more basic but adequate alternative (e.g. partial denture) available under the National Health Service.

Dental Facts:

There are something like  21,000 NHS dentists in England alone, with around the same number spread out among Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Tooth decay is perhaps the UK’s most serious and widespread health problem. It has been estimated that between 52% and 77% of all children aged between eight and fifteen have obvious tooth decay and that 55% of all British adults have one or more decayed tooth.

Our NHS Dentist Finder guides covers the following areas (click on the link to access the information), with more being researched and prepared all the time:

Dentists in Aberdeen | Dentists in Birmingham
Dentists in Brighton | Dentists In Bristol
Dentists in Cardiff | Dentists in Edinburgh
Dentists in Kent | Dentists in Leeds
Dentists in Leicester | Dentists in London
Dentists in Manchester | Dentists in Nottingham
Dentists in Plymouth | Dentists In Scotland
Dentists in Sheffield | Dentists in Southampton
Dentists in Wales

What Is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is when a tooth rots and has to be treated. Our mouths are full of bacteria, which can get together with saliva and tiny particles of what we’ve eaten  to make a sticky film that builds up over our teeth. This is called plaque. When we eat foods that are high in sugars and starches (called carbohydrates), the bacteria in plaque feed on the carbohydrates and produces acid, which – over time – breaks down the surface of the tooth.

Unless it is treated, the plaque can completely eat away at the outside of the tooth (the enamel) and expose the nerves inside. When this happens, you get toothache. At this stage many people try to contact an Emergency Dentist, when it would have been much more sensible to keep up simple dental care to prevent the tooth decay. Unless you go to get it looked at, when it reaches this advanced stage of decay, your tooth will drop out.

Does The UK’s Water Contain Fluoride?

Although there is a great myth that the UK’s water supply is being fed fluoride, less than 10% has enough fluoride contained in it to in any way affect your teeth. In contrast, in the Republic of Ireland, 71% of the population received fluoridated water. The following water companies are active in this: Anglian Water Services Ltd, Northumbrian Water Ltd, Severn Trent plc, South Staffordshire Water plc, and United Utilities Water plc.

Dentist’s Qualifications:

To become a dentist, you have to undergo extensive training, which is the same, whether you intend to practice in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Students must complete 5 years of undergraduate study to earn a BChD or BDS degree. To receive full NHS registration, the majority of dentists will enter a vocational training scheme (VT) of up to two years length. They then have to register with the G.D.C. (General Dental Council), who are the dental profession’s governing body, before being allowed to practice.

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