Why is this important?
This information applies to England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Many people have difficulty in finding a dentist who provides NHS treatment.
If you want NHS dental treatment, you will first need to find out which dentists in your area provide NHS treatment, and then find one who is prepared to accept you for a course of treatment as an NHS patient.
Some dentists do not provide NHS treatment, or only provide treatment to certain groups of people, for example children, or people getting benefits or tax credits.
Not all dentists who provide NHS treatment have to take you on as an NHS patient. If they are unable to take you on, they should tell you that you can go to another dentist.
You don't have to register with a dentist in order to get NHS treatment, but your dentist may keep a list of regular patients and provide ongoing treatment and care.
Under certain circumstances, your dentist may discontinue a course of treatment. This could happen, for example, if you don't cooperate with treatment or if you fail to turn up for lots of appointments. Where violence, or the threat of violence occurs, your dentist could discontinue treatment straight away, without any advance warning.
To find a list of dentists who do NHS work in your area:
in England, phone NHS 111 or go to the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk.
in Wales, phone NHS Direct on: 0845 4647, or look on their website at www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk.
in Northern Ireland, look on the HSC business website at www.hscbusiness.hscni.net.
To find out more about NHS dental treatment, see NHS dental treatment in Health fact sheets.
In Northern Ireland, see the nidirect website www.nidirect.gov.uk.