How to register with a dentist

If you are new to the area or, for any other reason, are not already registered with a dentist, you are strongly recommended to do so. You may already be registered, but wish to change to a different dentist. In either case, there are a few things that you might want to consider when choosing a dentist.

  • First, the dental practice that you attend doesn’t have to be near your home. It may be easier to register with a dentist near your work, or place of study or near a family member if, for example, you have to arrange childcare. The NHS 24 Dentist Finder will give you a list of Dental Practices nearest to any Scottish postcode area (Please note that this is simply a list of dentists and they may not be registering new NHS patients).
  • There is a good distribution of dentists around the Lothian area who are registering new NHS patients, and you can click on the link below to find the details of these practices.
  • Before you contact a dental practice to make an appointment, check first to see if the practice has a website. Dental practice websites are a good source of information about the services that the practice provides, their opening times and the exact location of the practice. Sometimes a practice recommended by a family member or friend is a good way to help you decide.
  • When you first contact a practice to register, you should confirm that you can be accepted as an NHS patient. If you have any particular needs, you should speak to the practice receptionist about these, when you first call. If you think you are entitled to free dental treatment or to help with the cost of NHS dental treatment, you should discuss this also when making your first appointment. For more information, read "Are you entitled to help with health costs?" a leaflet you can also pick up when visiting your GP or dentist.
  • When you call a dental practice as a new patient, usually you will be given a first appointment for an examination only. If you know that you need some dental treatment, you can discuss this with the dentist at this initial appointment and then arrange further treatment appointments to complete it. The dentist will need to know about your general health as well as checking the condition of your mouth, teeth and gums. If you currently take any prescription medicine, take a note of the names and doses of this to the appointment. At the end of this first appointment, the dentist will usually give you a plan of the treatment that you require and also an estimate of the likely cost of it under the NHS. The current maximum charge for a course of NHS dental treatment is £384 (correct at August 2012).

You can download an up-to-date list of Lothian dental practices which are currently registering new NHS patients.

Some FREE ROUTINE dental treatment for unregistered patients only is available at the Edinburgh Dental Institute. See our "Free Routine Dental Treatment Poster" for more details.

Last Reviewed: 05/09/2012