Dentists - Could use some good advice please!

It’s been about 7 years since my last dental visit, my NHS dentist was some 20 miles away so needed a round trip of 40 miles for the twice yearly visit, however they suddenly sent me a letter which explained that because of my address postcode they could no longer treat me, which kind of surprised me because the reason i ended up going there in the first place was because i live Welsh side of the boarder …so must use an NHS dentist in Wales.
Phoning around the more local NHS dental surgeries got me no where, these were England side of border, and regardless of postcode they can’t take on Welsh patients!

Long-story-short, i gave up trying to find a new NHS dentist and the last seven years have drifted by without any dental problems; until last Monday when i accidentally broke an incisor : (

So this week i’ve been phoning around for a dentist, all private incidentally, i didn’t ask but don’t think they are bothered about postcodes or where you live, however all too busy and none willing to take on a new patient!
They say things like, we can put you on a waiting list and see you perhaps in June?
Can you phone back in the autumn we maybe taking on new patients then… [or maybe not?]

But this is early days yet, i’ve only phoned and been turned down by six local Private dental surgeries so far. I don’t think the NHS dentistry exists around here anymore, except one [with bad reviews] which would only take me on urgently if paying private fees!

The advice i’m requesting here is how to go about finding a really good dentist?
And how to avoid the bad ones!
Call me cynical if you like but i had some really horrific past history with bad dentists, and also been blessed with a couple of really top drawer ones too; one of which went back home to New Zealand, and another who resides too far away.

If i’m going to have to go private then i may as well find someone worth the money.
Or do any forum dentists here recommend seeking out the elusive NHS dentist?

Or perhaps this guy…?

My experience of UK dentistry (since childhood) has been unremitting agony, fear and trepidation. It seems to me that they (or mine, at least) were all failed butchers! As a consequence, I always avoided dentists, except when it became absolutely unavoidable.

My dental experiences in Canada were the opposite … excellent facilities, excellent attitudes, very patient-focused and a great service. Most importantly though, pain-free! Expensive, but that was a secondary consideration (for me).

I have no explanation for these differences, other than I found a vast difference in attitude towards patients - customer oriented and caring vs secretive and condescending. I find the NHS has similar differences …

I’ll watch this thread carefully, as I too need a UK dentist, but past experiences have made me very wary (to put it mildly) of approaching anybody.

Good luck with your search :+1:

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Your teeth are so very important. I just had a crown done at $$$.
I would put more effort into finding a dentis ASAP.
One tooth missing means other teeth take the work which ends up causing more issues.
Not seeing a dentist for 7 years is not good practice.
Good luck

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Aren’t they Doctors who should have taken the oath of Hippocrates and therefore must help you if you insist?

In my experience, if you have pain you will be helped much sooner.

My wife & I joined ‘Denplan’ some years ago. It’s a private insurance dental plan for which you pay monthly. The company points you towards the dentists who are part of its scheme, you chose one that suits, you are then assessed for dental health and your monthly premium set. This covers you for 3 monthly hygienist treatments and 6 monthly full dental checkups, plus all treatment. The only thing you may have to pay extra for are lab fees should you need a crown. For an idea of the cost, the two of us pay a combined monthly premium of £45. Given the cost of NHS dental treatment contributions and hygienist fees we think this is pretty good value. You are also covered for emergency private treatment when on holiday (worldwide).

I highly recommend the scheme (and believe me, I don’t recommend much these days!).

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Debs, I had a very similar experience with my dentist and suddenly was no longer registered! Like others I haven’t had great experience with U.K. dentistry so after failing to find a new practice to take me on, I gave up bothering.

Some time ago, a couple of years back in fact, a molar broke but as there was no pain I carried on regardless. Until last week when I began to get a bit of toothache for first time. Looked around and found NHS dentist with space not far away. I looked up online reviews and they weren’t great but I noticed no dentist had consistently good reviews either.

We both agreed the broken tooth should come out and while not agony I won’t deny it didn’t smart a little during extraction!

Post extraction, my general well being seems to have improved significantly. I assume that the broken tooth was creating other health issues whether directly or indirectly.

My advice then would be to bite the bullet so to speak and get it fixed ASAP. And if you find experience not great, tell them and move on.

Another vote for Denplan. Myself and ‘her indoors’ also about £45pm combined. tbh I’m note sure it ultimately saves money but it does spread the cost over the year. Finding a good dentist is a painful and expensive process, btdt! My last dentist was a butcher… he was from some Arabian country where, I assume, anaesthetic was a privilege only for the Royal class. He was a locum brought in by the practise when the last guy retired. Everything was done with a large amount of pain. Plus he reckoned all my teeth were going to fall out in 12 months time unless I had ‘deep cleaning’ sessions every 6 months - anyone that has had that done will know what this entails!! After two such sessions I said enough is enough and moved. Wish I’d plucked up the courage to do it 18 months earlier…

Anyway good luck with your search.

Another Denplan user/subscriber - it gets you into the habit of regular visits to the dentist, it reduces painful dramas to regular maintenance.

How do you find a good dentist, ask around your area.

Whatever you decide, just make sure you book an appointment before 2:30.

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The Hippocratic oath is an ancient curio; doctors do not generally ‘swear’ any oath although some med schools use a version at graduation this is more for emotional than practical reasons. The standards I am held to (professional, ethical and legal) and are set by the GMC.

To that end; as a GP I have precisely zero days of dental training, I am not insured to treat dental problems, I have no access to your dental records and have no equipment to fully assess or treat most dental problems. A doctor only has responsibility to ensure the situation is not a medical emergency and then signpost the patient to appropriate care. We might give pain relief but are advised not even to treat infections with antibiotics as the most appropriate care is probably surgical in many cases and treating the problem once rarely sorts it longer term.

NHS dentistry access is very patchy. It is one of the mysteries to me that the UK public has somehow ignored the way it has been dismantled quietly around them. We are contacted at work on a regular basis by people with dental problems, and casualty departments get a lot of cases too. They may have no dentist although many choose to go these routes thinking we are cheaper and more accessible. I’m afraid they get sent away to find a dentist in almost every case.

Try asking your dentist to treat your back ache or gout and watch what they say!


Try Simon Wood at Lumley and Wood in Bridport. Good fun and does excellent work.

The Hippocratic Oath was commonly disregarded and broken during the 1960s and 1970s under NHS Dentistry drill and fill scheme guidelines. This created systematic dental abuse that to this day seems to have gone relatively unchallenged in the law courts, Rogue dentists who opted to make money from drilling and filing healthy teeth generally got clean away with it. It seems very little has been done to investigate and punish the abusers of this past crime, and no conviction or compensation seems have ever been procured from this historical dental abuse of pre-1980s.

There must be millions of middle-aged Britains around now who have received unnecessary fillings and have to endure a mouth full of [unnecessary] amalgam, and presenting an ongoing routine and expensive opportunity for repeated replacement. There is only so many times a filling can be replaced before the demise of the tooth.

The NHS dentist i used up to 7 years ago seemed like a good guy, but 6 month routinely he checked my teeth over, he would compliment my ‘very clean’ teeth [ it’s true i can floss my teeth expertly ] and ask if i’ve had any problems? pain? …no? “okay see you in 6 months time then”. However, like Jamie mentioned above ^, i too had a molar fall apart, double root-filled some 15 years previous it was a goner, needed extraction in the local hospital.
This experience suggests to me that the old drill and fill abuse crime has long gone now but since been replaced by - do nothing until there is a problem and then extract.
A bit like disposing of the evidence of someone else’s crime i suppose?

I go to a brilliant (but expensive) dentist in Harley Street in London. We both agree with the do nothing unless it needs doing approach - unless you are, for example, on TV and require it for cosmetic purposes. I don’t think the solution is always necessarily extraction - it depends on the problem.

To get to the pub in good time afterwards ?

I think the explanation is simple… an underfunded NHS.

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To get to the pub in good time afterwards ?

2:30 “Tooth Hurty”

After being turned down by a few more Private surgeries today : (
Finally some good news: have an appointment with a dental surgeon on Monday afternoon.

They do NHS and Private but would only take me on as a Private patient : /
Recommended by my good neighbour friend [why didn’t i ask her before?] a practise fairly local in a nearby village 10 mile away but easy to get to and easy free car parking. They seem to be invisible to the internet search radar : )

Sounds like my new Dentist maybe a young genius being recently qualified in 2016 but he comes with an impressive MChD/BChD MFDS RCPS (Glas), [whatever that means?]

All those letters make me feel optimistic :grin:

I think a dentist who is fully acquainted with the latest techniques and materials is a good starting point!

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If he does both private and NHS, although you have to get to know him privately you will probably find he will agree to swap you to NHS at some point in the not too distant future.


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Doogie Howser?