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NHS Dentistry in Crisis

  • A blog considering the current crisis in NHS dentistry with many people struggling to get an appointment.

    By Samantha Swaby

There have been several reports in the media this week about NHS dentistry being in crisis. Many people are struggling to register with an NHS dentist or they are unable to make appointments. Over the years there have been many issues, with people being unable to access NHS dental care, which pre-dates the pandemic. However, the issues have now been heightened by restrictions to tackle COVID -19 and dealing with the backlog of appointments that many practices are faced with. Further, many dentists are also leaving the NHS and moving into private practice.


NHS England has announced this week that £50 million will be made available to help provide 350,000 dental appointments nationwide, including evenings and weekends in February and March. However, it is likely that this will only be applicable to larger practices who will offer evening and weekend appointments. Children and people with learning difficulties or severe mental health problems will be prioritised.

Importance of attending a dentist

A dental check-up is primarily focused on the mouth and teeth, and your dentist will be able to see if you have any dental problems. However, there are a number of other health issues which can be identified in a dental examination, such as oral cancer, anemia, gastric reflux for instance.

When attending your dentist for a check up, the dentist will normally

  • Examine your teeth, gums and mouth
  • Enquire about any problems or symptoms you may have had since your last visit
  • Provide advice about oral hygiene, and smoking and alcohol use

Dental check-ups are important, as if you do not attend the dentist, then problems can develop, which can mean you require costly remedial  treatment. It can also mean, that the dental issue is a lot more difficult to treat.

Signs that you may need to see a dentist

  • Toothache
  • Swelling in the gums near a painful tooth
  • Lumps or swellings appearing in the mouth
  • Abscesses
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Bleeding gums when brushing
  • Sore patches
  • Sensitive teeth

This list is not exhaustive and in some instances, people may not experience any pain, such as if you are suffering from the early stages of gum disease. Therefore, it is important to attend the dentist even if you are not suffering from symptoms.


Hopefully the £50 million funding will enable many people to access dental treatment and avoid the need to take measures into their own hands, such as extracting their own teeth. If you have suffered from dental problems which were not diagnosed by your dentists, please contact the Dental Negligence Team who will be happy to assist and advise on the prospects of bringing a dental negligence claim.

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Call 0800 051 8069

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