How to make a Complaint
The statement has been produced by the Regulation of Dental Services Programme Board (NHS England, the NHS Business Services Authority, the Department of Health, the Care Quality Commission, the General Dental Council and Healthwatch England) to ensure there is a shared understanding of the correct route for complaints among regulators, commissioners and providers.
Previously the dental complaints system has been seen as complex and confusing, experienced overlap and revealed a lack of consistency across organisations.
Find a Dental Practice
Use the NHS Choices website linked below, to find a dental practice near you.
Dental Emergency and Out of Hours Care
If you require urgent treatment, please contact your usual dental practice as they may be able to see you or direct you to an urgent care dental service. If you do not have a regular dentist, contact NHS 111 for advice on where you can get urgent care.
Emergency dental treatment will deal with the problem at hand and the fee for the treatment is currently £18.80. You may be advised to make another appointment for a separate course of non-urgent treatment. In this case, you will have to pay a second charge in the relevant treatment band.
The British Dental Foundation
A charity which runs a dental helpline staffed fully trained oral health experts and dental nurses who can provide free and impartial advice to consumers who want further explanation/information on oral health.
We’re all entitled to the NHS treatment we need to keep our mouth, teeth and gums healthy and pain-free. So if treatment is clinically necessary, you should be able to get it on the NHS. Your dentist should discuss any treatment that you need with you, explaining the potential benefits and costs.
There are three standard charges for all NHS treatment, known as bands 1, 2 and 3. The costs are set annually by the Department of Health.
Band 1 – £18.50
This covers examination, diagnosis (including x-rays), scale and polish (if needed), application of fluoride or fissure sealant and preventative advice.
Band 2 – £50.50
Covers everything listed in band 1, plus further treatments such as fillings, root canal work or tooth removal.
Band 3 – £219
Covers everything in bands 1 and 2, plus treatments such as crowns, dentures and bridges.
Know Your Rights
You’re entitled to have all clinically necessary treatment on the NHS. This means that the NHS will provide any treatment that you need to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy and free of pain.
If your dentist says you need a particular type of treatment, you should not be asked to pay for it privately. Your dentist is not allowed to refuse you any treatment available on the NHS but then offer the same treatment privately. Also, any treatment provided on the NHS has to be of the same high quality as treatments provided privately.
Depending on what you need to have done, you should only ever be asked to pay one charge for each complete course of treatment, even if you need to visit your dentist more than once to finish it. You will not be charged for individual items within the course of treatment.
Raising a Concern
A complaint can be raised with the practice in the first instance and then with the General Dental Council. The Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman can also investigate complaints in this area.