Getting a NHS dentist appointment during COVID-19.

Routine dental care has had to change because of COVID-19, with social distancing rules making it difficult to access services. Here’s some information on how to access an NHS dentist during the pandemic. (Updated 19th February 2021)
dentist standing treating patient in dental chair

In order to improve access for patients who are not currently able to receive treatment from a dental practitioner within the South East, NHS England and NHS Improvement South East has commissioned additional patient access sessions for the forthcoming six month period.  All Providers in the area were asked for expressions of interest and as a result sessions for provision of treatment have now been agreed. 

The intention is that although patients requiring urgent care will be signposted to them, these Providers will also offer full treatment which will remove the need for the patient to seek urgent care in the future.  These sessions are in addition to the current service that is being provided by General Dental Practitioners within your area.

Download details below. After that there is further information below if you are still having difficulty.


Access To Dental Appointments

How do I find a dentist? 

To get the help you need you can: 

  • Phone your local dentist to get information about their opening hours and advice on where you can go to get the care you need 
  • If you don’t have a dentist or your dentist is closed, you can phone NHS 111. Translation services are available.  
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing visit

If you can’t get help from a dentist you should notify NHS England about the issue, as it has a duty to provide routine and urgent dental care across the country.

Do not visit a dentist without an appointment. 

Practices will need to prioritise their patients based upon their needs. The British Dental Association advises:

  • If you call to make an appointment, you will be asked some screening questions. You’ll be asked those same questions again at your appointment 
  • You will probably be asked to use hand sanitiser or to wash your hands when you arrive (and again before you leave) 
  • Social distancing measures will be in place in the waiting rooms 
  • Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.

I need urgent dental assistance – what can I do? 

For urgent advice on any oral health issue you can call: 

  • NHS 111 (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) 
  • Call the dental helpline at 01788 539780 (local rate call in the UK) for free and impartial advice between 9 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

Dental practices usually offer both NHS and private dental care. You should check whether you are paying for NHS, private treatment, or both before you begin your treatment.

NHS dentists should always:

  • Explain which treatments are available on the NHS.
  • Explain which treatments are only available privately.
  • Make sure you know how much your NHS treatment and private treatment will cost.

Find out more about what you should expect to pay for treatment.

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