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Finding an NHS dentist

(35 Posts)
42andcounting Thu 26-Sep-13 14:20:27

Quick background, recently moved to a new area, 35 weeks pregnant, and due for a check up. I've tried to find a local NHS dentist, and been told there is zero availability, I am on an NHS co-ordinated waiting list which is likely to be 6 months plus, but will enable me to access emergency treatment if needed.

I've been ringing round and managed to find an NHS dentist an hours journey from home (2 hour round trip), who have offered me a registration appointment at ohmygoditsearly o'clock tomorrow. I am reasonably chuffed with this, as it means I get seen before I get too close to my due date, and the idea of not being registered with a dentist is quite alien to me. My OH however thinks I am barking mad to consider driving that far at 35 weeks pregnant, and thinks I should either just not register with anyone, and if I need emergency treatment to access the NHS waiting list service, or alternatively just register and pay privately for treatment closer to home. He's also pointed out the cost of fuel to get there, and the impracticality of doing the journey with a little baby once it arrives. Even if I go privately it will still probably be half an hour or more journey, as there is just nowhere near home that is taking on patients at the moment.

Am I being unreasonable / unrealistic?

MissBattleaxe Thu 26-Sep-13 14:27:29

Take it and go to the appt. NHS Dentists with room on their books are like unicorn droppings.

DH and I have been on waiting list for 3 years despite being near about 4 dentists with no room for NHS patients. If they were plentiful I'd say, no get one nearer, but they're not so grab it with both hands.

Don't forget you get free NHS dental treatment for up to a year after you've had the baby so make the most of it and get registered now!

NightLark Thu 26-Sep-13 14:33:47

I'm not quite understanding this, because you don't register with dentists anymore.

You just ask for an appointment with any practice that does NHS appointments.

Which isn't to say that they will have any appointments free at the moment, but you don't need to register, or stick with the same practice next time if it is too far to travel.

If you are in England, this link explains

Mogz Thu 26-Sep-13 14:47:32

That's interesting NightLark, I've been trying to find an NHS dentist since moving 6 months ago but they all tell me they're not registering new patients at the moment and they won't see me.

ananikifo Thu 26-Sep-13 14:50:57

That link says that some practices don't accept new patients because they are full, and that you may need to go on a waiting list. OP I think you should accept the appointment, and keep looking or waiting for local NHS dentist for the future.

ananikifo Thu 26-Sep-13 14:53:00

But I should add, if it's a true emergency there's usually a local phone number you can use to find a local NHS dentist doing emergency treatment, so you wouldn't have to be registered with a dentist for that.

BreconBeBuggered Thu 26-Sep-13 14:53:51

But if you don't have to register, what's the waiting list about?

Anyway, OP, definitely go to that appointment, especially if even private dentists aren't thick on the ground where you live..

MissBattleaxe Thu 26-Sep-13 15:54:20

I'm in Wales and you have to register and there's never any room.

5Foot5 Thu 26-Sep-13 16:51:32

Nightlark: I was in the dentist waiting room before my routine 6 month check up recently and I heard the receptionist telling someone on the phone that it was not possible for them to fit him in for an appointment since he wasn't registered with them. The best she could do was give him the number of the local NHS emergency service.

StuntGirl Thu 26-Sep-13 17:31:54

I spent over 5 years waiting for an NHS dentist. Grab that appointment! There's nothing stopping you putting yourself on the waiting list for a closer dentists in the meantime (at least there wasn't for me), but don't leave yourself without a dentist if you can help it. Emergency dentists simply do patch up jobs and say "You'll need to register with a dentist to get fixed properly". Nightmare.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 26-Sep-13 17:37:26

You have to register in Wales. You can get emergency appointments but they're under no obligation to see you again once the necessary course of treatment is over.

I hate NHS dentists. I find it ludicrous they can not only charge people, um hello NHS - clue is meant to be in the name?! But also refuse to register/treat people. Hospitals can't, doctors can't. Not unless they're private. That'll be a loophole dear Tony created for the dentists.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 26-Sep-13 17:37:47

Also OP - go to that appointment!

Tabby1963 Thu 26-Sep-13 17:47:54

My local dentist has moved to bigger premises nearby (10 min walk away) and is taking new NHS or private patients. Sadly this is in Scotland so no use for you. I remember the difficulty of finding an NHS dentist when living in England, its really frustrating.

Loa Thu 26-Sep-13 18:00:26

I'd take it - then keep looking for one closer.

We got a better response when we actually wrote to the dental practices - everyone in 1 hour radius. Found a good one to take us one that way after we were told no-one but the first one we tried would take us. Got NHS one much closer and very good.

First ones which everyone said was only NHS one in entire area only took DC and then we so bad we wondered why we bothered - they were later investigate, stop from taking NHS patient's and one dentist prosecuted. So glad we didn't listen to people telling us to suck it up.

RedHelenB Thu 26-Sep-13 19:41:33

You only visit the dentist once a year so not a biggie in terms of travel surely?

Mrsmorton Thu 26-Sep-13 20:39:42

alisvolatpropiis you are so badly informed that it's almost funny. NHS dentists are independent practitioners who subcontract their time out of some vastly misplaced sense of duty to the "big lie" that is NHS dentistry.

Dental treatment hasn't been free at the point of delivery for a long time, way before TCB. Those dentists who choose to spend their time trying to do their best for ungrateful patients do not choose to take money from them, that's the rules they have to abide by under the contract. To say you "hate NHS dentists because they charge you for treatment" is at best childish and at worst offensive.

As a business owner, dentists are well within their rights to decide who they provide their services to. I hope that you have a wonderful relationship with your dentist hmm

NightLark Thu 26-Sep-13 23:28:52

Very interested to hear that dentists in England are still citing registration to their (potential) patients - was having a discussion with a dental services planning person last week in which it was firmly stated that registration no longer exists. Nothing Little has been done to let the public know but it seems some dentists are outside the loop as well... or my colleague is wrong (which I find hard to believe, given colleagues job).

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 26-Sep-13 23:46:19


I have a perfectly fine relationship with my dentist. We don't tend to chat about our views on each other's respective professions.

I dislike the way the profession operates not individual dentists.


ukatlast Thu 26-Sep-13 23:53:13

Go privately locally and choose a decent dentist you can stick with - make sure that they actually own the practice so they haven't moved on 6 months later.

Mrsmorton Fri 27-Sep-13 06:36:23

You may like to rephrase your original post then...

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 28-Sep-13 07:26:50

I'd imagine most literate adults don't usually need things rewritten for them, so no.

TiredyCustards Sat 28-Sep-13 07:39:39

Agree with Allis re NHS dentistry, but remember Op it's free until your dc is 1 (or 1 year from their due date perhaps?) so why are you in a rush?

Mrsmorton Sat 28-Sep-13 08:34:08

You're quite right Alis.

VivaLeThrustBadger Sat 28-Sep-13 08:47:45

I think the free dental treatment in pregnancy/for the next year is only with nhs dentists. Can't imagine a private dentist would give free care?

I'd take the appt. if you need something major then a private dentist can cost a fortune. There was someone on here recently posting about been quoted £800 to have a tooth repaired.

A friend of mine pays £50 a month for her and her dh to be on the books of a private dentist. I'm assuming it means any (most?) of any treatment is free......but that's £600 a year. Which is a lot of money for a check up and a polish if you don't need anything g else done.

Mrsmorton Sat 28-Sep-13 08:51:20

Yes, it's only for NHS dentistry.

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