How to get an NHS dentist appointment during COVID-19

Routine dental care has had to change because of COVID-19, with social distancing rules making it difficult to access services. Here’s some information on how to access an NHS dentist during the pandemic.
A dentist

Last updated 6 August 2021

From 19 July 2021 restrictions have been removed and dentists are open for routine and urgent treatments, however due to a change in the way they work you may have a longer wait for an appointment if it’s not urgent. 

If risk-assessments allow, practices may also resume a full range of domiciliary dental care services (e.g., in people’s homes, including residential care homes) 

If you are suffering any symptoms of COVID-19 you should not attend your appointment and phone your dentist to advise them.

How do I find a dentist?

To get the help you need you can:

  • Phone your local dentist to get information about their opening hours and advice on where you can go to get the care you need
  • If you don’t have a dentist or your dentist is closed, you can phone NHS 111. Translation services are available.
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing visit

Do not visit a dentist without an appointment.

Practices will need to prioritise their patients based upon their needs. The British Dental Association advises:

  • If you call to make an appointment, you will be asked some screening questions. You’ll be asked those same questions again at your appointment
  • You will probably be asked to use hand sanitiser or to wash your hands when you arrive (and again before you leave)
  • Social distancing measures will be in place in the waiting rooms
  • Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.

What about orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specialises in making teeth straight - providing braces for children, for example. This NHS Patient Information Leaflet explains how these services are currently being accessed:

Tell us about your experience of care

Has your dental care been disrupted by COVID-19? Whether it’s good or bad, we want to hear from you.

It only takes five minutes, and your feedback can help your local NHS and social care services understand how to improve care for you and your loved ones.

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I need urgent dental assistance – what can I do? 

For urgent advice on any oral health issue you can call: 

  • NHS 111 (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) 
  • Call the dental helpline on 01788 539780 (local rate call in the UK) for free and impartial advice between 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.


What can your NHS dentist do for you?

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We all appreciate the hard work of health and care staff during the pandemic. Healthcare services are now working to bounce back from COVID-19 - but they need our help. 

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