NHS Dentistry

Find out how to get an NHS dentist appointment, what to do if you need urgent dental care and how much you should be charged.
toothbrush, tooth and dental equipment

How to get an NHS dentist appointment

There is no need to register with a dentist in the same way as with a GP because you are not bound to a catchment area. Simply find a dental surgery that's convenient for you, whether it's near your home or work, and phone them to see if there are any NHS appointments available. The best way to search for a Dentist is to use the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-dentist .  If you don’t have access to the internet, you can call us here at Healthwatch Milton Keynes and we can look them up for you.

Once you find a dental surgery, you may have to fill in a registration form at your first visit, which is purely to add you to their patient database. However, that does not mean you have guaranteed access to an NHS dental appointment in the future and does not mean you can’t go to a different dentist.

If after contacting several dental surgeries you still cannot find a dentist accepting NHS patients, 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.

Urgent Dental Care

If you think you need urgent care, contact your usual dentist as some surgeries offer emergency dental slots and will provide care if clinically necessary.  You can also contact NHS 111, who can put you in touch with an urgent dental service. Do not contact a GP, as they will not be able to offer urgent or emergency dental care.

The emergency dentist will only deal with the immediate problem and provide clinically necessary treatment to stop any pain. An urgent dental treatment will always be charged at Band 1 (£22.70). If you are asked to come back for further treatment, this will be considered a separate course of non-urgent treatment. You will have to pay the relevant charge for the new course of treatment. Ask the dentist what the treatment will cost or whether you can have a treatment plan.

If you claim for free NHS Dental Treatment when you are not eligible for it, you could be fined. Discuss it with your dentist or call NHS England to find out the process and confirm your eligibility.

Only visit A&E in serious circumstances, such as:

  • severe pain
  • heavy bleeding
  • injuries to the face, mouth or teeth

If you're not sure whether you should go to A&E, contact NHS 111, who will be able to advise you.

Treatment Bands and charges:

If the treatment is clinically necessary, it will be covered under an NHS Band.  This means if your dentist tells you that you must have a scale and polish because it is clinically necessary, it will be covered under Band 1.  If they recommend it as a cosmetic treatment, they can refer you to their Hygienist and you will be charged private fees.

If you are receiving treatment under the a Band of treatment, all of the lower band Band treatments are included.  This means, for example, you will have the assessment, x-rays, and treatment planning as well as the Band 2 treatment required for just the Band 2 cost no matter how many appointments it takes.  This does not apply for separate courses of treatment so it is important to get a treatment plan to make sure everyone agrees what is included in that particular course of treatment.


Band 1 course of treatment: £22.70

  • clinical examination, case assessment and report
  • orthodontic case assessment and report
  • advice, dental charting, diagnosis and treatment planning
  • radiographic examination and radiological report
  • study casts
  • colour photographs
  • instruction in the prevention of dental and oral disease, including dietary advice and dental hygiene instruction
  • surface application as primary preventive measures of sealants and topical fluoride preparations
  • scaling, polishing and marginal correction of fillings
  • taking material for pathological examination
  • adjustments to, and easing of, dentures or orthodontic appliances
  • treatment of sensitive cementum

Band 2 course of treatment: £62.10

  • non-surgical periodontal treatment (gum disease treatment), including root planing, deep scaling, irrigation of periodontal pockets and subgingival curettage and all necessary scaling and polishing
  • surgical periodontal treatment, including gingivectomy, gingivoplasty or removal of an operculum, raising and replacement of a mucoperiosteal flap, curettage, root planing and bone resection
  • free gingival grafts
  • permanent fillings in amalgam, composite resin, synthetic resin, glass ionomer, compomers, silicate or silico-phosphate, including acid etch retention
  • sealant restorations
  • endodontic treatments (root canal treatment) of permanent or retained deciduous teeth, pulpotomy and apicoectomy
  • extraction of teeth
  • transplantation of teeth
  • oral surgery including surgical removal of cyst, buried root, unerupted tooth, impacted tooth or exostosed tooth and alveolectomy
  • soft tissue surgery in relation to the buccal cavity and lips
  • frenectomy, frenuloplasty, frenotomy
  • relining and rebasing dentures including soft linings
  • addition of tooth, clasp, labial or buccal flange to dentures
  • splints (other than laboratory-made splints) in relation to periodontally compromised teeth and in connection with external trauma
  • bite-raising appliances (other than laboratory made appliances)

Band 3 course of treatment: £269.30

  • laboratory-made porcelain or composite veneers, including acid etch retention
  • inlays, pinlays, onlays and palatal veneers, in alloys containing 60% or more fine gold, porcelain, composite resin and ceramics

Crowns including any pin or post aids to retention:

  • full or three-quarter crown cast in alloys containing not less than 33⅓% fine gold or platinum or palladium
  • full or jacket crown cast in alloys containing stainless steel or cobalt chromium or nickel chromium
  • crown in porcelain, synthetic resin and other non-metallic crowns
  • full or jacket crowns in alloys containing not less than 33⅓% fine gold or platinum or palladium, or alloys containing stainless steel or cobalt chromium or nickel chromium, with thermally bonded porcelain
  • jacket crown thermally bonded to wrought platinum coping
  • prefabricated full or jacket crown, including any pin or post retention

Bridges including any pin or post aids to retention:

  • bridges in alloys containing 60% or more fine gold with or without thermally bonded facings
  • bridges cast in alloys containing stainless steel, cobalt chromium or nickel chromium, with or without thermally bonded facings
  • acid etch retained bridges
  • bridges in other materials
  • provision of full (completed) or partial dentures, overdentures and obturators in synthetic resin or metal or both synthetic resin and metal, including any cast or wrought metal components or aids to retention
  • orthodontic treatment and appliances
  • other custom-made applications excluding sports guards

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