How to get an NHS dentist appointment during COVID-19

We’ve heard from hundreds of people since the pandemic started with questions about how to get a dentist appointment or emergency dental care. Here are some of the answers.
getting an NHS dentist appointment

How do I find an NHS dentist?

Covid-19 has meant that changes have had to be made to your dental surgery. Whilst many practices are now open again, extra cleaning and social distancing means that you may have to wait longer than usual to get an appointment.

To get the help you need you can:

  • Phone your dentist to get information about their opening hours and advice on where you can go to get the care you need.
  • Remember you don’t need to be registered with a dentist in the same way as you do with your GP. You can see any NHS dentist.
  • 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 offers the following advise:

  • If you call to make an appointment, you will be asked some screening questions about your situation. For example if you are in pain. You’ll be asked those same questions again at your appointment.
  • You will 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.

You can get more information from the British Dental Association here

I need urgent dental assistance – what can I do?

  • Call your dentist.
  • If you cannot contact your dentist or don’t have one, use NHS 111 online.

For urgent advice on any oral health issue you can call NHS 111 (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

If you need emergency dental help when your surgery is closed, you can call the Kent & Medway DentaLine.  DentaLine can help you if you have an emergency dental situation when surgeries are closed. They can offer pain relief and temporary dressings. You will probably need to book an appointment with your own dentist to complete the treatment.

Contact DentaLine on 01634 890300

They are open for specific hours when your dentist is closed

  • Monday to Friday: 6.00pm – 11.00pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: 8.30am – 1.30pm and 6.00pm – 11.00pm
  • Bank Holidays: 8.30am – 1.30pm and 6.00pm – 11.00pm

Have you been to a dentist since the pandemic started? What was it like?

Tell us your story so we can help others. We will share your (anonymised) experience with decision makers so that they hear what it was really like for you and help to make changes for other people.

Tell your story here

Looking for information about health and care?

Find advice and information to help you stay well and make decisions about your health and social care support.

Find advice and information