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NHS dental services

  • Last modified date:
    4 June 2010

These changes are designed to benefit patients by supporting better access to local services and simplifying the system of dental charges. They are also designed to to provide greater stability for NHS dentists and support them in carrying out simpler courses of treatment with more time available to give preventative advice to patients.

Better access to local services

Your PCT is now responsible for local NHS dental services and:

  • has money that must be used for local dental services
  • agrees contracts with NHS dentists for services that best meet local needs
  • can influence where new practices are established
  • is responsible for urgent and out-of-hours care in your area

If a dentist moves, closes down a practice or reduces the amount of NHS dentistry he or she provides, the money to provide this service now remains with your PCT for reinvestment in NHS dentistry for the local community.

These changes are designed to help PCTs and dentists develop NHS dental services to better reflect local needs and priorities.

What to expect from your NHS dental treatment: your Personal Dental Treatment Plan

Before you receive either Band 2 or Band 3 treatment, your dentist is obliged to give you with a Personal Dental Treatment Plan. This is a single A4 sheet of paper containing information about the treatment and care your dentist recommend on one side, and details about how to use NHS dental services on the other. If you are currently undergoing Band 2 or Band 3 treatment and have not yet been given one of these forms, please ask your dentist to provide one.

If you need to complain about your NHS dentist

To find out how to make a complaint about the care of service provided by your NHS dentist or dental practice, please use the link below.

How often to visit your dentist

Following new guidelines issued by the National Institue for Clinical Excellence (NICE), it is now up to your dentist to decide on the length of time between your routine dental examinations. It is no longer the case that regular six monthly check-ups are recommended for everyone. Instead, you will be asked to come back according to your individual needs on the basis of your overall oral health.

To see NICE's information for patients on recall intervals, please see:

Further background

Visit the NHS dentistry website ( for detailed queries about:

  • what the changesin NHS dentistry mean for you
  • advice on how to find a dentist

Download the information leaflet and posters explaining the changes to NHS dentistry and patient charges:

Visit the NHS Information Centre website for statistical information about NHS dental activity, the NHS dental workforce, and dental earnings and expenses.

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