How best to prepare for your dentist appointment

The time we get face-to-face with our dentist can often seem short! But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways you can prepare yourself for your appointment ahead of time. We suggest writing a list of questions ahead of time.

Your checklist:

  1. Make routine appointments
  2. Follow the dentist’s advice about looking after your teeth
  3. Tell surgery staff if you don’t understand any part of the treatment
  4. Be honest and open – tell the dentist about any health problems you have or medicines you take
  5. Remind the dentist about any relevant allergies
  6. Make sure the dentist has your up-to-date contact details
  7. Use the out-of-hours emergency service only for real emergencies
  8. Where possible, take evidence of your exemptions in case you don’t have to pay for treatment.

Finding a dentist

Every NHS patient has the right to good quality NHS dental treatment. You may however, wish to go private. 

NHS dentistry – is subsidised by the state so the charges you pay are much less than a private dentist would charge. However, the range of treatments you can get from the NHS is limited.

Private dentistry – can include a much wider range of treatments than are available under the NHS. It’s worth noting that private dentists don’t have a fixed scale of charges so it may be worth ‘shopping around’.

The treatment

Your dentist must make sure you understand what’s involved in any treatment you need. You can help your dentist by asking questions, especially if you are having major treatment. If you’re not entirely happy with the advice about your treatment, you can seek a second opinion from another dentist, although you will have to pay for this.


Your dentist may decide that you need a treatment he or she can’t offer in their own surgery, for example because it requires specialist training or you will need an anaesthetic that can only be used in a hospital setting. If that’s the case you may be given a ‘referral’ to a specialist who will decide on the best next steps for you.


If you have private dental treatment you will have to pay for it yourself, or through a dental or health insurance policy. NHS treatment is free for some patients, but most people have to pay some of the costs.

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