Trying to find an NHS Dentist?

You don’t have to register with a dentist in the same way as a GP. Instead, you can choose to use any dental surgery that is convenient for you, whether it’s near your home or work. You can contact any dental practice directly to check if they have any appointments available. Dental surgeries will not always have the capacity to take on new NHS patients. You may have to join a waiting list or look for a different dentist who is taking on new NHS patients.

You can find a list of dentists that are currently taking on more patients on the NHS website.

How often will I be seen?

Once you find a dental surgery, you may be asked to fill in a registration form at your first visit, which is just to add you to their patient database so that they can continue to contact you about your dental care.

At your first routine appointment, your dentist will assess how frequently they need to see you for check-ups. This will vary from person to person, and may be up to two-years for those with good oral health.

If you are already under the care of a dentist, it is important that you continue to attend appointments as directed by your dentist. If you don’t, you may be at risk of being removed from the practices patient database.

How can I get urgent dental treatment?

If you are in pain or in need of urgent dental support, please telephone your dental practice in the usual way.

If your dental practice is closed or you don’t have a usual dentist and you need an urgent NHS dental appointment, you can still arrange this:

• Call the local dental helpline for Cheshire and Merseyside: 0161 476 9651
• Call NHS 111

Issues classed as urgent include:

  • A tooth abscess
  • Broken teeth
  • Severe dental pain
  • Painful bleeding gums or an ulcer or white or red patch anywhere in the mouth, that doesn’t heal within three weeks

Please do not visit your local hospital A&E department or doctors’ surgeries with urgent dental problems, as they will not be able to provide emergency or out of hours dental care.

If you’re in pain while waiting to see a dentist, you can take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

About Liverpool University Dental Hospital

Liverpool University Dental Hospital provides some emergency care and a range of specialist dental services, including restorative dentistry, paediatric dentistry, orthodontics, oral surgery and medicine and a consultant-led Dental Sedation Unit.

In order to access treatment here, you must be referred by the above dental helpline, your usual dentist, or by the dentist who has dealt with your emergency treatment.

Please do not attend without an appointment as they cannot offer any walk-in dental care.

More information:

How much will I be charged?

An NHS dental appointment (routine or emergency) will cost £25.80, unless you’re entitled to free NHS dental treatment.

This payment covers an examination, diagnosis and advice. If necessary, it also includes X-rays, and a scale and polish (if clinically needed). Please note that further treatment will be charged at a higher rate.

You do not have to pay for NHS dental care if you’re:

  • under 18, or under 19 years of age and still in full-time education
  • pregnant, or have had a baby in the last 12 months
  • being treated in an NHS hospital and your treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist (but you may have to pay for any dentures or bridges)
  • receiving low income benefits, or under 20 years of age and a dependant of someone receiving low income benefits

You can find out more about NHS dental payment rates here:

Community Dental Service

The Community Dental Service (CDS) provides specialist dental treatment for children and adults who cannot access dental treatment in a General Dental Practice.

This might be because they have a:

  • Disability
  • Learning Difficulty
  • Language Barrier
  • Phobia
  • or other criteria

Referrals to CDS can be made by a dentist, a GP, a doctor or another Health or Social Care Professional.

Other dental support and complaints

The Oral Health Foundation is a dental helpline for people who need dental advice, help and reassurance.

Call them on 01788 539 780

Making complaints

If you wish to make a complaint about a dentist or dental practice, try to resolve it directly with them first.

You can contact the dental surgery’s practice manager with details of your complaint – either in writing, by email or in person. Your complaint must be made within 12 months of receiving treatment.

If you would rather not go directly to the practice, you can also contact the complaints team for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, which is the organisation responsible for dental care here: Contact – NHS Cheshire and Merseyside

If you’re not happy with the way your complaint was handled – either by the dental practice or the integrated care board (ICB) – you may wish to contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).

The PHSO makes final decisions on unresolved complaints about the NHS in England. You can call on 0345 015 4033 or use the PHSO’s secure online form to raise your complaint (this only applies to NHS services in England).