There is no dental provision for UK-based Service families, except in acute emergencies where there is no immediate access to NHS treatment. It therefore falls to the families to find local facilities to register with. However, the scarcity of NHS dentists and the varying rules of local care trusts regarding waiting lists can make this situation difficult. Frequent postings can also mean that Service families never make it to the top of the NHS waiting list.

However, please be aware that you don’t need to register with a dentist to receive routine or emergency NHS care. You can simply contact a practice offering NHS treatment and ask for an appointment.

Finding an NHS dentist:

The NHS Direct website is a comprehensive information source, which allows you to search for NHS dentists in your local area. Alternatively you can call the 24 Hour NHS Direct Helpline on: 0845 4647.

NHS Choices is another useful site through which you can find dentists, GP’s, hospitals and other health services in your area. Click here to visit the website.

You can also access the NHS Choices directory services from any internet-enabled mobile phone. Simply text the word ‘dentist’ to 64746 and NHS Direct will send you a text message with a link to localised results for dental services in your area.

Your local Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) should be able to provide localised information on dentitry issues.

Click here to view the comprehensive NHS leaflet entitled, ‘Guide to NHS Dental Services in England’. This leaflet tells you about NHS dental services in England, what to expect when you go to the dentist, and where you can get more information. It also tells you about charges for NHS dental services.

Service families living overseas may register with the Medical Centre to receive routine and emergency dental care.

If you cannot find an NHS Dentist there are, in some areas, Dental Access Centres. These centres do not register patients, but provide a complete range of NHS dental services, from routine to emergency treatment, to anyone that requires it.  There is no definitive list of Dental Access Centres but you can search online for your nearest facility or contact your local Welfare Information Office.

If you are having trouble finding a NHS dentist in your local area please contact us.

Further information

For more information on NHS dental care, please call the British Dental Health Foundation on: 0845 063 1188 or visit their website. The Foundation is the UK’s leading independent charity, which aims to improve oral health care standards via objective advice and recommendations.

The Service Personnel Command Paper

The Service Personnel Command Paper  is a cross-Government document, issued in July 2008. It states that the Department of Health will trial various new methods to improve access to dentistry facilities for Service families. Such methods include making use of facilities on military bases, providing mobile services in those areas and making use of spare capacity elsewhere. Trials will conclude in December 2009.