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There are two option for dental care: NHS or private.
All practising dentists must be registered with the General Dental Council, a statutory body which protects the patient by ensuring that all practising dentists are properly trained. All qualified dentists will have the letters BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) or LDS (Licentiate in Dental Surgery) after their name.

The NHS offers most treatments free for children up to age 18. Some orthodontics treatments are also covered by the NHS. However, the materials used may not be as modern as those used by private practices. In some cases, you may be offered to pay an extra fee for a better material or procedure not covered by the NHS.

In order to find a local NHS dentist, you can contact your local Health Authority or search online at Dentists operate differently from doctors and therefore do not have specific catchment areas. Not all practices offering NHS care can take on new patients, so you should check that the dentist you choose is still accepting new patients. Most dentists will only register you after they have done an examination, and will only keep you on their register if you go for regular check-ups. If your children are registered with an NHS dentist and do not attend at least every 15 months, they may be removed from the list.

In a private practice, patients will usually be seen by the dentist, who will perform checks and specialist procedures, and by a dental hygienist, who will clean the patient’s teeth (scale and polish) and give advice.
If you are looking for private dental care here are tried and tested resources from the FOCUS community.

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