30th March 2023 4 Minutes read time

The struggle to find an NHS dentist

Are private dentists better than NHS?

Going to the dentist is something that many people dread, but it’s an essential part of maintaining good oral health. Unfortunately, finding an NHS dentist can be a real struggle for many people in the UK. With long waiting lists and limited availability, it’s not uncommon for patients to go months or even years without seeing a dentist.

But why is this happening? What is the root cause of the struggle to find an NHS dentist? In this article, we’ll explore some of the key factors that have contributed to this ongoing issue, from funding cuts to changes in the way dental practices are managed, and how private dentistry can help reduce the demand.

The Causes of the NHS Dental Crisis

The NHS dental crisis has been building for many years, and there are a number of different factors that have contributed to the problem. One of the biggest issues is funding cuts, which have led to a reduction in the number of dentists working in the NHS. This, in turn, has led to longer waiting times and reduced availability for patients.

Another key factor is the cost of living crisis, where it was found in December that 15% of people avoided going to an NHS dentist because of the cost of check-ups or treatment, up from 12% in October. 

The Impact of the NHS Dental Crisis

Close up of male doctor holding clipboard while talking to patients waiting in line at medical clinic, copy space

The impact of the NHS dental crisis can be felt by patients across the UK. With long waiting lists and limited availability, many patients are left without access to dental care for extended periods of time.

This can have serious consequences for their oral health, as well as their overall health and wellbeing. Without regular dental checkups and treatments, minor issues can quickly become major problems, requiring more invasive and expensive treatments in the long run.

The NHS dental crisis also has a wider impact on the healthcare system as a whole. When patients are unable to access dental care, they may end up seeking treatment from other healthcare providers, such as their GP or at a hospital emergency department. This can put additional strain on already overstretched services, leading to longer waiting times and reduced quality of care for all patients.

The Role of the Government in addressing the issue

The NHS dental crisis is a complex issue, and there is no single solution that can solve all of the problems facing patients and dentists. However, the government does have an important role to play in addressing the issue and ensuring that patients are able to access the care they need.

One key area where the government can make a difference is in funding for NHS dentistry. By providing more funding, the government can ensure that there are more dentists working in the NHS, and that patients are able to access the care they need in a timely manner.

Finally, the government can work to improve recruitment and retention of dentists within the NHS. This may involve providing incentives for dentists to work in the NHS, such as better pay and benefits, as well as improving working conditions and opportunities for career development.

Private vs NHS Dentistry: Are private dentists better than NHS?

Woman sitting in dental chair looking up at dentist whilst smiling with clean, healthy teeth

One of the options available to patients who are struggling to find an NHS dentist is to seek private dental care. At The Barn, we want to help as many people as possible get the dental care they need. There are many misconceptions when it comes to private dental care. However, private dentistry can offer a number of benefits, including shorter waiting times and greater availability of appointments. Here are just a few more:

  • With longer appointment times, you will have a more relaxing experience. This is particularly important for those who suffer from dental anxiety. 
  • Patients are nearly twice as likely to report a positive experience if advanced digital technology is used. We benefit from state-of-the-art technology, making your assessments more accurate and appointments more comfortable. 
  • There are a lot of treatments that we offer privately that typically aren’t available on the NHS, for example teeth whitening and composite bonding.
  • You don’t have to let the cost of dental treatment prevent you from getting the smile you want. We offer a 0% finance option, helping you to spread the cost of your treatment to fit your budget. 
  • Get treatment from experienced dentists who genuinely care about your treatment and want to give you the best experience possible.
  • Whatever your means of transport, there’s a convenient way for you to get to our clinic, which is also easily commutable from London.

Patients who seek private dental care must be careful to choose a reputable practice, and to ensure that they are receiving the best possible care for their needs. 

The future of NHS dentistry

The struggle to find an NHS dentist is a serious issue facing patients across the UK. There is still a long way to go before the NHS dental crisis is fully addressed. It will require a concerted effort from the government, dental professionals, and patients themselves to ensure that everyone is able to access the care they need.

In the meantime, patients who are unable to access NHS dental care may want to consider private dentistry as an alternative. Private dental practices like us can offer a wider range of services and more personalised care. By offering an alternative to NHS dental care, we can help to reduce the demand for NHS services.


Let’s build a future where everyone has access to high-quality dental care.

Don’t ignore your dental health any longer. Book an appointment with us today.

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As a very nervous patient that had not visited the dentist in years, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I actually enjoyed my appointment! Everyone was so friendly and calm and made me feel completely at ease. Thank you for restoring my faith!!

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