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  • Writer's pictureHealthwatch Wokingham

July 2024: Help, I need an NHS dentist!

Updated: Jul 11

Residents across Wokingham Borough and communities across England have made it clear that NHS dentistry needs to be fixed – so it’s affordable and accessible for everyone.

We've put together a Q&A to help you understand what is happening with dental access locally, what to do if you need an NHS dentist and what Healthwatch is doing to help make change.

I am looking for an NHS dentist.

Currently, no dentists are accepting new NHS patients across Wokingham Borough.

Many dental practices have very long waiting lists. However, you  can join more than one dental waiting list and they will contact you when a slot becomes available.

Where can I check to find out if dentists are taking on NHS patients?
  • You can visit or phone local dental practices to see if they are taking on NHS patients.

  • You can also visit the Dental Choices website – this is not part of the NHS but it lists NHS dentists taking on new NHS patients to their waiting lists:


  • You can call NHS England’s Customer Contact Centre on 0300 311 2233 and they may be able to help you find the nearest dentist accepting NHS patients, but you may be asked to travel some distance to get an appointment.

I have an urgent dental issue or emergency but no dentist, what should I do?

You can:

  • Phone NHS 111. They can book an emergency appointment for you.

  • Phone any local NHS dentist and ask if they can give you a one-off NHS dental appointment. It is not possible to request treatment by e-mail.

  • Book an urgent or emergency dental appointment only by phoning the dental practices listed below.

Booking yourself an urgent or emergency dental appointment:

These dental appointments are not for routine dental care/checkups. They are for urgent or emergency dental appointments unless you fall under one of the groups listed below.

You can book routine care/checkups, on-going treatment and urgents appointments if you are in:

  • Urgent Need

  • Clinically Vulnerable

  • Looked After Children

  • Extractions required before Orthodontic Treatment

  • Care Home Residents (who are able to travel to practice)

  • Expectant and nursing mothers

  • Armed Forces family members

  • Homeless patients

  • Asylum Seekers/Refugees

For further information on who these dental appointments are for, please click here.

The dental practices that will see people for urgent or emergency care or routine care and checkups if you fall under the cohorts listed above, are listed below.

These dental practices have been given special funding to offer additional dental appointments. Not all dentists offer these. Some of these dentists are outside of Wokingham Borough but you can still receive the urgent treatment you need at these if you are willing to travel.

We advise that you phone the dental practices below as soon as they open each morning to book an appointment. Appointments get filled quickly.

Please mention Healthwatch Wokingham Borough when you book your appointment:

What is the Community Dental Service - can I use this service?

This service provides dental treatment for children and adults who cannot access treatment at general dental practices. Instead, dental services take place in hospitals, specialist health centres and mobile clinics, as well as home visits.

This could be because of needing specialist care, disability, learning difficulties, language barriers, phobias etc.

Some hospitals or health centres may be able to offer treatment under sedation or general anaesthetic.

You can find out more about community dental services, here or by contacting NHS England on 0300 311 2233.

What is Healthwatch Wokingham Borough doing about the dental crisis?

We regularly monitor the NHS dental situation across the borough. We are in regular contact with NHS England - South East Dental and NHS Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB) to get the latest information on local dental services.

BOB ICB is responsible for planning and funding NHS services for people across Berkshire West, including Wokingham Borough locals and dentistry services.

NHS England - South East Dental deliver the dentistry service to you and Wokingham Borough locals.

Healthwatch Wokingham Borough is an independent statutory body which means we have the power to make sure NHS leaders and other decision-makers listen to your feedback.

We ask locals to share their views, concerns and experiences on dentistry services. We then share your experiences anonymously with the teams mentioned above, and other local groups, so that they know the local issues, the impact of the crisis, and how to make changes to local services.

What is Healthwatch England doing to help?

The new Labour Government has proposed a Dentistry Rescue Plan, which has the potential to improve access to NHS dental appointments in the short-term.  But in the long-term, Healthwatch believes more fundamental reforms are needed.

From 5 July 2024 onwards, Healthwatch England is sharing the latest evidence with the incoming Labour Government and will continue to work constructively with Department of Health and Social Care officials, and NHS England's Chief Dental Officer, as they prepare to implement the Rescue Plan and consider longer term reforms.

The dentistry feedback you share with us is sent to Healthwatch England and used as evidence for the Government to help improve dental services locally and nationally.

Click here to read more about the work of Healthwatch trying to get dental reform nationally.

Share your views on local dentistry

Have your voice heard and help to improve local services. Tell us what you think about local dental services (good or bad) or if you are unable to get the treatment that you need:

Call: 0118 418 1418
Online: click here to complete a short online form.

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