Accessing NHS Dentistry Care and Treatment

Find out where you can go to get a dentist appointment in Bolton, where to go for urgent dental care, how to make a complaint and how to share your experience.
A dentist with a patient in a dentist chair

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way dentists deliver their services.

We know that in Bolton and other areas, people are struggling to access a dentist who is accepting new NHS patients.

Dental practices are beginning to re-start their normal practice however, the Coronavirus pandemic has created a backlog of patients waiting to be seen and has meant that most dentists have had to close their lists to new NHS patients. During this  period, some dental practices may operate a waiting list.

Unfortunately, Healthwatch Bolton does not have an up-to-date list of NHS dentists that are accepting new NHS patients however please be assured that Healthwatch Bolton and Healthwatch nationally are monitoring this situation and we continue to feedback your experiences to NHS commissioners and the government. We were mentioned in the national press on 7th and 8th February 2021 and we will continue to highlight and raise the issue of the problems with accessing NHS dentistry. 

Guardian article - patients struggling to access NHS dentistry

Finding an NHS dentist 

If you are struggling to access an NHS dentist in Bolton, our advice would be to ring practices near you and ask them if they are accepting new NHS patients or if they have a waiting list you can join. You can find local dental practice's contact information here.

Go to a list of dentists

Getting urgent dental care

If you do not have a regular dentist and need urgent care you should:

Call NHS 111 

Call the Greater Manchester Dental Helpline on 0333 332 3800, available from 8am to 10pm every day, including weekends and bank holidays

Cheshire and Merseyside: 0161 476 9651

Lancashire: 0300 1234 010

South Cumbria: 01539 716822

More information about urgent dental care

  • The above number should NOT be used by patients who have a regular dentist during normal surgery hours.
  • This is an appointment only service – the Urgent Dental Care providers do not operate a ‘drop-in’ service at any Greater Manchester locations.
  • Each one off urgent dental care appointment is a fixed NHS patient charge of £23.80. This fee shall be paid each time you access Urgent Dental Care Services.

What are urgent dental problems?

Urgent dental problems include the following conditions, which should receive self-help advice and treatment (where appropriate) within 24 hours:

  • Dental and soft-tissue infections
  • Severe dental and facial pain: that is, pain that cannot be controlled by the patient following self-help advice
  • Fractured teeth or tooth

Where to go for urgent dental care

The service operates from 20 different locations across Greater Manchester and patients can choose to be seen at the location most convenient for them.

Help and advice

For help and advice on looking after your teeth and gums – see here: dental health

You may want to check for help and advice on managing dental problems at home during Covid-19.

Oral Health Foundation - A to Z oral health information A-Z oral health information | Oral Health Foundation (


How to make a complaint about NHS dental care

You may want to consider raising any concerns/complaints you have about the lack of access to NHS dental care and treatment with NHS England.

Contact details:

NHS England
PO Box 16738
B97 9PT
State: ‘For the attention of the complaints team’ in the subject line.

0300 311 22 33.
NHS England’s opening hours are: 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, except Wednesdays when we open at the later time of 9.30am. They are closed on bank holidays.

Tell us about your experience

We would appreciate any feedback you would like to give us on dentists and other health and care services.

Go to survey

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