Look after your NHS Dental Registration (2023)

17th September 2021 | Posted by: Vanessa Giraud

It is important to look after your NHS dental registration. During the pandemic it may have been difficult for you to make an appointment. Even now with the vaccination programme having a positive affect, sometimes patients still have to cancel because they feel unwell or need to self-isolate. Please be careful to follow the advice below to stay on the books.

Right now, if you’re enrolled with an NHS practice, you may be finding it hard to get a dental appointment. This is particularly true in the South West of England. Here, we explain why that’s happening, we explain the action we’re taking, and the action you can take so there’s NHS dental care for you and your family.

Your enrolment on an NHS patient list with a practice you trust is a valuable thing. Please treasure it.

In short, there are two crucial points to remember if you wish to continue as an NHS patient with your SpaDental practice:

  • Don’t miss an appointment or be late for an appointment.
  • Don’t allow more than two years to lapse between appointments.

If you need to contact us to cancel or change an appointment, we’ve made it easier for you with our online Contact Us form.

While most patients respect the time they are allocated, patients arriving late, or not at all, prevent other patients from accessing care. Please take a few moments to read the information below.

Keep your appointment to keep your NHS dental registration

As the pandemic is still with us, dental practices are still working under strict regulations and face challenging time restrictions. Whether you are visiting a dentist, hygienist or therapist, their time is tightly scheduled. Please respect it.

(Video) NHS Dental Charges Explained

Even performing a simple filling is not as straightforward as it used to be. It takes more staff, increased PPE and, most significantly, more empty surgery time after the appointment to prevent the possible spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • Read more about what a dental appointment is like nowadays
  • Call out to children registered with SpaDental

If you have an appointment, please make sure you don’t forget it.

Please take every step necessary to make sure that you arrive in good time. Practices need to be really strict about both missed appointments and late arrivals. If you have to cancel, make sure you do so at least 24 hours in advance.

“We’re sorry, but…”

We value all of our patients, and we don’t want to have to tell anyone, “We’re sorry but we must ask you to find a different dental practice for your treatment.” It is, however, the procedure we must follow.

Please note:

  • After one missed appointment, your non-attendance or late attendance will be recorded. When you wish to make another appointment you will be given a slot at a time to suit the clinician, which may not suit your routine.
  • If you fail to attend the second appointment, SpaDental will ask you to find a different dentist.
  • If you attend the second appointment, we will do our best to accommodate your preferred day or time for your next appointment.

Attend regularly to keep up your NHS dental registration

Many of our patients forget to make regular visits to see their dentist. And then, before they realise, it’s been over two years!

Please be warned!

Due to the high number of people wishing to receive NHS dental treatment and the very long waiting lists, your dental practice has no choice but to remove patients who have not attended for two years or more from the NHS list.

While we appreciate that the first coronavirus lockdown in 2020 meant that dentists were not able to see their patients for three months, practices opened again and have worked hard to catch up with patient needs. Please remember it’s important to follow up on regular attendance at the practice for you and your family.


SpaDental practices try to remind our patients when they are due for their dental examinations via text message, email or letters. However, we often find that many of our communications get returned as patients do not update their details with us.

What to do to keep your place on the NHS patient list:

  • Always attend any appointment booked, or cancel the appointment more than 24 hours in advance.
  • Make sure you book your next dental examination before you leave the practice. Whether it’s three, six, nine or even twelve months in advance, our reception teams will help you make your next appointment, and send you reminders nearer the time as well.
  • Check and update your contact details. Be sure they are correct, especially your email address and mobile phone. If we can keep in touch with you, then we can help you keep on track so you don’t miss your appointment.
  • If you are caring for an older person, then help them to keep up their registration too by tracking their appointments with them.

Use it! Don’t lose it!

If you are removed from the NHS patient list, you are no longer able to receive NHS treatment at the practice. If you want to receive NHS treatment again, you will need to contact the NHS and join the waiting list. As NHS waiting lists are long, it may be some time before you can join another practice. So our recommendation is that you protect your registered status.


Our recommendation is that you protect your registered status by attending your appointments, and booking your next appointment before you leave the practice.

Your check list for staying on your dentists NHS list:

  • Attend all your appointments or cancel well in advance.
  • Always book your next appointment before you leave the surgery.
  • Keep your contact details up to date.
  • Make sure you visit your dentist regularly (and don’t leave it for longer than two years).

Please let us know

If you move out of the area, or if you decide to change your dental service provider, please let us know so we can update your records. Moreover, it frees up a space on our list so another person can register.

Remember to update your personal information if you phone number, email or address changes so we can remind you when you are overdue for an appointment. This is easy to do using our online contact us form.

For more information, or if you are concerned you may lose your NHS dental registration, please contact your practice.

SpaDental Chard (Somerset), SpaDental Plymouth (Devon), SpaDental Saltash (Cornwall) and SpaDental Whitchurch (Shropshire) are the only SpaDental practices treating NHS patients. At the moment, when there is a new patient opening, the practices prioritise children and teenagers.

All SpaDental practices offer private services at reasonable rates. Please find your nearest practice.

People also ask:

  • How can the NHS help me to keep healthy for longer?
  • Does the dentist at SpaDental Whitchurch offer Denplan?

POSTED IN: Covid-19, NHS dentistry

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Why is it so difficult to register with a NHS dentist? ›

Why can't I find an NHS dentist? Dental care isn't set up in the same way as GP care. This is why you don't have to register with a dentist in the area that you live. Dental practices hold contracts for NHS patients with NHS England, and there are not enough dentists to cover NHS treatment for everyone.

Is it difficult to get an NHS dentist? ›

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 appointments available.

How long is NHS dental waiting list? ›

Operationally, the NHS expects that 92% of those on a waiting list at any point in time should have been waiting for less than 18 weeks.

Can you be struck off NHS dentist? ›

Certain practices are deciding to remove people from their practice unless they follow two rules such as: Don't miss an appointment or be late. Don't allow more than two years to lapse between appointments.

Why are UK dentists not taking NHS patients? ›

If a dentist carries out more NHS work than they have been contracted to do, not only are they not paid for the extra work done, but they have to bear the cost of any overheads and materials — so it makes no financial sense for them to take on patients with complex needs.

Why are dentists not covered by NHS? ›

Dentistry provided by the National Health Service in the United Kingdom is supposed to ensure that dental treatment is available to the whole population. Most dentistry is provided by private practitioners, most of whom also provide, on a commercial basis, services which the NHS does not provide, largely cosmetic.

Why do people not go to the dentist UK? ›

Fear of the dentist/pain is the main reason people gave for people not visiting the dentist regularly.

Can my GP refer me to a dentist? ›

Primary care teams must judge the nature of the patient's condition by undertaking reasonable enquiries and, where appropriate, a clinical assessment. Having established an apparent dental problem, GPs or practice teams should direct the patient to a dentist or local emergency service, or refer them to secondary care.

What if I can't afford dental care UK? ›

If you cannot afford this, your local primary care trust will help you find a dentist in your area that will treat you as an NHS patient or you can visit www.nhs.uk. There are a number of ways you can pay for treatment either on the NHS or privately: Pay-as-you-go.

How can I speed up my NHS waiting list? ›

Chose a provider abroad to get your NHS surgery quicker

You can do this by checking NHS hospital websites – many update their waiting times at least weekly. Private hospitals can provide treatment within 1-2 weeks from initial contact or once you obtained NHS permission to receive refunded private treatment abroad.

How can I get around my dental waiting period? ›

There are some instances where you might be able to waive a waiting period for a dental plan. If you had an employer-based policy with an insurer, but no longer work for that employer, that same insurer might waive a waiting period if you sign up for one of their stand-alone dental plans.

What is the fastest way to see a dentist UK? ›

If you need to see a dentist out of hours
  1. call a dentist: their voicemail may advise where to get out-of-hours treatment.
  2. call NHS 111 to find an out-of-hours dental service near you.

Can you have two dentists? ›

Finding an NHS dentist. Anyone can apply to register with an NHS dentist and you are entitled to register with more than one dentist if you wish. You can attend any dentist you like, not just the dentist nearest to you.

Are dentists obliged to take NHS patients? ›

Dentists can decide whether they want to accept NHS patients. Even when a dentist does accept NHS patients there can be a waiting list.

What is the difference between private and NHS dental charges? ›

Private dental care is not subsidised by the government, and so you will pay a price set by the dentist for the treatment they will provide. Private dentistry may be an option for faster treatment, or treatment options that the NHS does not provide.

How much do NHS dentists earn UK? ›

The typical NHS Dentist salary is £52,988 per year. Dentist salaries at NHS can range from £32,530 - £107,190 per year.

How many dentists are leaving the NHS? ›

By the end of January 2022, this figure had fallen to 21,544. As each dentist manages a caseload of around 2,000 patients , this mass desertion has lead to the creation of “dental deserts”, leaving approximately four million people without access to dental care on the NHS.

How many dentists have left the NHS? ›

According to Department of Health data analysed by the BBC, nearly 1,000 dentists working in 2,500 roles across both England and Wales ditched their NHS contracts.

Is dental treatment free for over 60 in UK? ›

If you're aged 60 and over, you get free: NHS prescriptions. NHS sight tests. NHS dental check-ups in Scotland or Wales.

Do dentists still use silver fillings? ›

Silver fillings are still commonly placed on posterior teeth. They are often used in areas where saliva and bleeding can contaminate white restorations. Silver fillings can also be used as a foundation filling before a crown, although it can discolor the final crown color.

What is the difference between NHS crowns and private crowns? ›

What is the difference between NHS crowns and private crowns? Having a dental crown procedure performed through the NHS will almost always cost less than a private clinic. The only major difference between NHS crown treatment and private treatment is the waiting times.

Are dentists happy in UK? ›

A huge majority of NHS dentists, 91%, did not feel they were fairly remunerated and 89% felt unable to carry out the work they do without feeling overly stressed. Given that combination, it is unsurprising that 85% do not feel the level of job satisfaction they would like to.

Is everyone in Britain entitled to dental treatment? ›

You're entitled if you are: aged under 18, or under 19 and in qualifying full-time education. pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months. staying in an NHS hospital and your treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist.

Do we really need to go to dentist? ›

Regardless of the exact frequency, regular visits are still important. Dental check-ups give your dentist the chance to check your mouth for any possible signs of oral health problems such as tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer.

Can a referral be rejected? ›

If referrals are rejected, the provider should give clear information as to why they do not feel that their service is suitable for the patient and suggest an alternative provider or method of managing the patient.

Why would a dentist refer you? ›

A dentist will normally refer patients to an oral surgeon for issues such as treatment of wisdom teeth, complex extractions, correction of congenital growth defects or if you have a complicated medical history. An oral surgeon is trained and skilled in the following procedures and many others.

Why would a dentist refer a patient? ›

Once diagnosis has been reached, you may encounter clinical problems before, during or after treatment has begun that require specialist equipment, materials or techniques that you are unable to provide. A referral would also be appropriate in these cases, preferably from a referral partner you can trust.

How do I prove im entitled to free dental treatment? ›

You will be asked to show your dentist written proof that you do not have to pay for all or part of your NHS treatment. You will also be asked to sign a form to confirm that you do not have to pay. If your name is on a valid HC3 certificate, you may not have to pay for all your treatment.

How much do root canals cost UK? ›

Root canal prices with a private dentist in the UK range from £100 – £350 for front teeth and £300 – £700 for back teeth.

Can I have all my teeth pulled and get dentures UK? ›

A full denture will be fitted if all your upper or lower teeth need to be removed or you're having an old complete denture replaced. The denture will usually be fitted as soon as your teeth are removed, which means you won't be without teeth. The denture will fit snugly over your gums and jawbone.

What to do if NHS waiting list is too long? ›

If you're not offered an appointment within 28 days, you should complain to your local ICB using the NHS complaints procedure.

What is the 18 week rule in the NHS? ›

Details. Patients have a right to start consultant-led treatment within 18 weeks of referral or request an offer of alternative providers that can start their treatment sooner. The NHS must take all reasonable steps to meet patients' requests.

How can I improve my waiting list? ›

How to streamline the queue process
  1. Inform the customer. ...
  2. Consider connecting an appointment solution. ...
  3. Open self-service opportunities. ...
  4. Provide virtual queuing. ...
  5. Spend time with visitors based on their needs. ...
  6. Speed up the right service. ...
  7. Do surveys to identify improvement areas.
4 Mar 2020

Can a dentist just take you off their list? ›

Removing patients from the practice list is an emotive issue and should only be used as a last resort. The reasons for removing a patient from the list can be varied, but it should not be in response to patients lodging a complaint or failing to comply with treatment.

Can a dentist remove you without notice? ›

Missed appointments

Your dentist can terminate your treatment if you miss your appointment without letting the dental surgery know. You may then need to pay again for a new course of treatment.

How long can you go between dentist visits? ›

The basic rule of thumb says you should visit the dentist every six months. Studies have shown that people without any problems are ok to go once a year while those with dental issues should get checked out every 3 or 4 months. Here are some guidelines to help you know how often you should get your teeth checked.

Can you go to A&E about teeth? ›

Immediate action required: Go to A&E if you have toothache and: the area around your eye or your neck is swollen. swelling in your mouth or neck is making it difficult for you to breathe, swallow or speak.

Can a GP refer you to a dentist UK? ›

If you're referred to a specialist by your GP or another health professional, such as a dentist or ophthalmologist, you may have the right to choose which hospital in England to go to for your first outpatient appointment. You can also choose which consultant-led team will be in charge of your treatment.

How long is the average dentist appointment UK? ›

If there are no issues, it should only take around 10 minutes - or a little longer if there are any problems that need attention. Your dentist should begin by asking you about the health of your mouth, and if you've had any problems since your last visit.

Does every dentist charge the same? ›

There can be wide variations in prices for the same dental procedures from different providers. Individual dental practices set prices for their offices based on market prices and the costs of doing business. These costs include rent, salaries, insurance, supplies and more.

Do dentists do more than teeth? ›

More than Just Teeth and Gums

When appropriate, they perform procedures such as biopsies, diagnostic tests for chronic or infectious diseases, salivary gland function, and screening tests for oral cancer. In addition, dentists can spot early warning signs in the mouth that may indicate disease elsewhere in the body.

Can you get all your teeth done at once? ›

Teeth-In-A-Day is an option for patients who need numerous teeth replaced, or even a whole upper or lower set of teeth. The procedure is a relatively new technique in dentistry and allows patients to receive an entire arch of prosthetic teeth in a single appointment with a surgeon.

Can my dentist stop treating me on NHS? ›

The NHS will provide all treatment that your dentist feels is clinically necessary to keep your teeth, gums and mouth healthy. This means that if your dentist says that you "need" a particular type of treatment, it will be available on the NHS. You should not be asked to pay for it privately.

Why are there no NHS dentists anymore? ›

Infection prevention and control measures to protect staff and patients were introduced during the pandemic, limiting the number of procedures that NHS dentists could carry out.”

Is it better to go to a private dentist or NHS? ›

Private treatment will always give you the best possible functional but also cosmetic result. You are able to have private appointments at anytime a practice is open including. Private treatment gives us complete freedom to provide the very highest standard of treatment and materials.

Can I mix NHS and private dental treatment? ›

Can I provide a mix of NHS and private dental treatment on the same tooth? Providing both NHS and private treatment options have been discussed, and the treatment isn't available under NHS regulations, performers are able to provide a mix of NHS and private dental treatment.

Is it better to go private or NHS? ›

Private facilities are modern and more comfortable, service tends to be more efficient, and Consultants can offer more personalised one-on-one care due to a reduced caseload. Private hospitals can also offer a wider range of treatments and procedures due to higher budgets for equipment, medication and specialists.

How easy is it to register with NHS app? ›

Registering onto the NHS App on a mobile device: Enter your email address and select 'Continue'. Select 'Continue' to set up a new NHS login. To create an account you will need to know your NHS number or name, date of birth and postcode.

What is the government doing about NHS dentistry? ›

New reforms to the dental contract – the first in 16 years – mean NHS dentists will be paid more for treating more complex cases, such as people who need three fillings or more.

Can you change from one NHS dentist to another? ›

Can I change my NHS dentist? You can change your NHS dentist at any time. When you have found a new NHS dentist or practice to join, you should let your old dentist know and make sure that any upcoming appointments there have been cancelled.

How does NHS work with dentists? ›

All the treatment your dentist believes is clinically necessary to achieve and maintain good oral health is available on the NHS. This means that the NHS provides any treatment you need to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy.

How long does NHS App registration take? ›

It may take more than a week for your identity to be checked and verified. For more information visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/nhs-covid-pass/. If you do not have digital or internet access, call 119 to request a letter.

Can you log into NHS without app? ›

Log in and use the website or app

The patient can continue using their email address, password and the security code sent to their mobile phone for authentication. They can also choose to be 'remembered' on their device, the first time they log into a website or app after setting up their NHS login.

What do I need to register on NHS App? ›

The NHS App is available now on iOS (from the App Store) and Android (from Google Play) To use it you must be aged 13 and over and registered with a GP surgery in England.
Having downloaded the App, you will be asked to :
  1. Give an email address.
  2. Choose a password.
  3. Accept the NHS Login terms and conditions.

When did NHS dentistry stop being free? ›

Money was tight and demand was rising. So ministers came up with a radical plan - they introduced charges for dentistry, prescriptions and spectacles. The move in 1952 was controversial, but did enough to get the NHS out of a tricky hole.

Can you have two NHS dentists? ›

Finding an NHS dentist. Anyone can apply to register with an NHS dentist and you are entitled to register with more than one dentist if you wish. You can attend any dentist you like, not just the dentist nearest to you.

Is everyone allowed NHS dentist? ›

You can receive free NHS dental treatment if you're entitled to or named on: a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate. a valid HC2 certificate – which is available for people on a low income.

Can I have an NHS dentist and a private one? ›

Most dentists offer NHS and private treatment, so make sure the dentist knows you want NHS treatment. A dentist should offer the full range of NHS treatment and tell you if private treatment is your only option for a particular problem.

How much do dentists receive from NHS? ›

Salaried dentists employed by the NHS, working mainly with community dental services, earn a basic salary of between £44,955 and £96,154.


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