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Can't find an NHS dentist

Hi everyone,
So I have some problems with my teeth, with some gum bleeding and tartar building up fast and I know I should visit a dentist but the problem is, I simply cannot find one.

I called one dentist, they said they are not accepting new patients, I am like ok so I call another, they also say they are not accepting, ok I try another one, they also say they are not accepting so clearly is bad luck I am thinking, the more practises I called the more I started to realise this whole thing was a joke.

I understand one, two or even 4 practices not accepting new patients but ten?? I called up ten practices, TEN GOD DAMN dentists (Some pretty far away from my home) and not a single one of them is accepting new patients. Like honestly just how bad things can be? Before the pandemic it was not this hard to get hold of a dentist so why are things so damn difficult right now?

I could go private but you know the obvious reason why I am hesitant, just what am I meant to do if I can't find an NHS dentist but need one?

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Youā€™re not likely to find an NHS dentist for the foreseeable future. Many people are having the same issue.
(edited 2 years ago)
I managed to find one after a very long time but the vast majority don't accept NHS anymore and probably won't for a long time. They'll only accept private patients so this is what you're going to have to do if you really want to see a dentist is to go private as you will more or less get seen straight away.
Original post by Kecifer
Hi everyone,
So I have some problems with my teeth, with some gum bleeding and tartar building up fast and I know I should visit a dentist but the problem is, I simply cannot find one.

I called one dentist, they said they are not accepting new patients, I am like ok so I call another, they also say they are not accepting, ok I try another one, they also say they are not accepting so clearly is bad luck I am thinking, the more practises I called the more I started to realise this whole thing was a joke.

I understand one, two or even 4 practices not accepting new patients but ten?? I called up ten practices, TEN GOD DAMN dentists (Some pretty far away from my home) and not a single one of them is accepting new patients. Like honestly just how bad things can be? Before the pandemic it was not this hard to get hold of a dentist so why are things so damn difficult right now?

I could go private but you know the obvious reason why I am hesitant, just what am I meant to do if I can't find an NHS dentist but need one?

It might be worth looking into a HC2 (and HC1) certifcate. Then you'll get help with dental costs (either at nhs or private dentists). The certificates are (or should be) valid at private dentists. Most dentists are private these days unfortunately. When I have appointments I take mine in with me to my usual dentist surgery and I just show the receptionist/person at the desk who deals with that stuff.
https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/nhs-low-income-scheme/hc2-certificates-full-help-health-costs
(edited 2 years ago)
Welcome to the club. My husband and I haven't had a dentist for about 6 years.

My husband had some abscesses a few times, and each time we had to ring 111 and get him booked into an emergency dentist.
I don't think they'd deal with just gum bleeding and tartar build-up though.
Reply 6
Problems finding an NHS 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.
Original post by meddad
Problems finding an NHS 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.

Doubt that will help. The problem isnā€™t that dentists are refusing NHS patients because they simply donā€™t want to see them, the problem is dentists canā€™t see NHS patients because the system is not fit for purpose. There have been problems for years, but the pandemic has been the tip of the iceberg.
Reply 8
Original post by Mesopotamian.
Doubt that will help. The problem isnā€™t that dentists are refusing NHS patients because they simply donā€™t want to see them, the problem is dentists canā€™t see NHS patients because the system is not fit for purpose. There have been problems for years, but the pandemic has been the tip of the iceberg.

The NHS link this comes from says that the NHS are required to find someone NHS dental treatment if they are having difficulty finding it themselves. Are you saying that you have evidence that having phoned the NHS number specified that they fail to comply with that ?
Original post by meddad
The NHS link this comes from says that the NHS are required to find someone NHS dental treatment if they are having difficulty finding it themselves. Are you saying that you have evidence that having phoned the NHS number specified that they fail to comply with that ?

If there is physically no capacity for new/existing NHS patients to be seen, you cannot suddenly magic up that capacity. Sure, the number youā€™ve provided will try to find someone who can take them on, but that might be somewhere far away (since OP has already searched farther than their immediate locality) and therefore inconvenient, or theyā€™ll be placed on a waiting list as so many other people have. By all means try, obviously.
(edited 2 years ago)
Reply 10
Original post by Mesopotamian.
If there is physically no capacity for new/existing NHS patients to be seen, you cannot suddenly magic up that capacity. Sure, the number youā€™ve provided will try to find someone who can take them on, but that might be somewhere far away (since OP has already searched farther than their immediate locality) and therefore inconvenient, or theyā€™ll be placed on a waiting list as so many other people have. By all means try, obviously.

I wasn't disagreeing with anything you are saying about the service provision and the current situation is poor ..... just saying that there's a phone number help line for people in the OP's situation. My inclination would be to try it, rather than just assume it doesn't work.

The capacity issue applies to lots of things, such as getting a GP appointment, dialling 999 for an ambulance etc. If you don't try then you don't know the outcome.
Original post by meddad
I wasn't disagreeing with anything you are saying about the service provision and the current situation is poor ..... just saying that there's a phone number help line for people in the OP's situation. My inclination would be to try it, rather than just assume it doesn't work.

The capacity issue applies to lots of things, such as getting a GP appointment, dialling 999 for an ambulance etc. If you don't try then you don't know the outcome.

And I also donā€™t disagree that the OP shouldnā€™t try - just that itā€™s unlikely to achieve much due to the way the NHS dentistry system works - which is actually a lot different to dialling 999 or asking for a GP appointment.
Reply 12
Original post by Mesopotamian.
And I also donā€™t disagree that the OP shouldnā€™t try - just that itā€™s unlikely to achieve much due to the way the NHS dentistry system works - which is actually a lot different to dialling 999 or asking for a GP appointment.

It actually seems more serious to me that somebody dies waiting 40 hours for an ambulance to arrive, or waits outside A&E in an ambulance for 10 hours, or has to wait 3-4 weeks for a GP appointment. There are a lot of different aspects of the health service not working as they should.
Original post by meddad
It actually seems more serious to me that somebody dies waiting 40 hours for an ambulance to arrive, or waits outside A&E in an ambulance for 10 hours, or has to wait 3-4 weeks for a GP appointment. There are a lot of different aspects of the health service not working as they should.

Yes I agree, although not sure how this is relevant to what I said.
Reply 14
Original post by Mesopotamian.
Yes I agree, although not sure how this is relevant to what I said.

Fairly obvious I would say, but I don't have time to explain it for you.
Original post by meddad
Fairly obvious I would say, but I don't have time to explain it for you.

It wasn't obvious.
Reply 16
Original post by Admit-One
It wasn't obvious.

I wasn't aware we had started a poll on it, but it's nice to see that forum helpers stick together, rep together etc.

I suggest it would help the OP more to stick to helpful contributions like the link I originally posted. I'm not even sure why it was commented on in the first place.
(edited 2 years ago)
Original post by meddad
I wasn't aware we had started a poll on it, but it's nice to see that forum helpers stick together, rep together etc.

I suggest it would help the OP more to stick to helpful contributions like the link I originally posted. I'm not even sure why it was commented on in the first place.

Just to clarify, I commented on your link to provide some insight into the outcomes the OP could expect from following that link given that I can safely assume that I have more knowledge about NHS dentistry than almost anyone else on this site. It was not intended to trigger a debate about the NHS or to start comparisons about which downfalls in healthcare are more ā€œseriousā€.

You are right though, this conversation is derailing the thread, so this will be my last reply to you.
Reply 18
Thanks for the replies guys, I will follow the suggestions you gave and see if I have any luck
Reply 19
Original post by Mesopotamian.
Doubt that will help. The problem isnā€™t that dentists are refusing NHS patients because they simply donā€™t want to see them, the problem is dentists canā€™t see NHS patients because the system is not fit for purpose. There have been problems for years, but the pandemic has been the tip of the iceberg.

I am really curious in your opinion by the way, what do you mean not fit for purpose? Is there more to it than it meets the eye?

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