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  • Writer's pictureHealthwatch Reading

February 2024: All you need to know about dentistry in Reading

Access to NHS dental care continues to be one of the main issues we hear about from Reading locals but it's an issue that is also affecting people across the whole of the UK.

We've put together a Q&A to help you understand what is happening and what to do if you need an NHS dentist.

I am looking for an NHS dentist.

Currently, no dentists are accepting new NHS patients across Reading.

Many dental practices have very long waiting lists. You can join more than one dental waiting list.

Where can I check to find out if dentists are taking on NHS patients?
  • You can visit or phone local dental practices to see if they are taking on NHS patients.

  • You can also visit the Dental Choices website – this is not part of the NHS but also lists NHS dentists taking on new NHS patients to their waiting lists:

  • You can call NHS England’s Customer Contact Centre on 0300 311 2233 and they may be able to help you find the nearest dentist accepting NHS patients, but you may be asked to travel some distance to get an appointment.

I have an urgent dental issue or emergency but no dentist, what do
I do now?

You can:

  • Phone NHS 111. They can book an emergency appointment for you.


  • Phone any local NHS dentist and ask if they can give you a one-off NHS dental appointment. It is not possible to request treatment by e-mail.

  • Book urgent or emergency dental appointments only with the dental practices listed below.

These dental appointments are not for routine dental care/checkups unless you are clinically vulnerable (including but not the full list; cardiac patients, cancer patients, immuno suppressed), Looked After Children or a Care Home resident.

For further information on who these dental appointments are for, please click here.

These dental practices are outside of Reading but you can still attend these for your urgent/emergency care only. The practices have been given special funding to offer additional dental appointments. Not all dentists offer these.


We advise that you phone the dental practices below as soon as they open each morning to book an appointment. Appointments get filled quickly.

Please mention Healthwatch Reading when booking your appointment for urgent or emergency dental care.



What is the Community Dental Service - can I use this service?

This service provides dental treatment for children and adults who cannot access treatment at general dental practices. Instead, dental services take place in hospitals, specialist health centres and mobile clinics, as well as home visits.

This could be because of needing specialist care, disability, learning difficulties, language barriers, phobias etc.

Some hospitals or health centres may be able to offer treatment under sedation or general anaesthetic.

You can find out more about community dental services, here or you can contact NHS England on 0300 311 2233.

What is Healthwatch Reading doing about the dental crisis?

We're in regular contact with NHS England - South East Dental and NHS Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB) to get the latest information on local dental services.

BOB ICB has responsibility for planning and funding NHS services for local people across Berkshire West, which includes Reading locals and dentistry services.

NHS England - South East Dental deliver the dentistry service to you and Reading locals.


Healthwatch Reading is an independent statutory body which means we have the power to make sure NHS leaders and other decision-makers listen to your feedback.

We ask locals to share their views, concerns and experiences on dentistry services. We then share your experiences anonymously with the teams mentioned above, and other local groups, so that they know what the local issues are, the impact of the crisis, and how to make changes to local services.


Your feedback is also sent to our national body Healthwatch England and is used as evidence in debates and committee meetings with the UK government so that changes can be made to NHS dentistry across the UK.  Click here to find out more.

We are currently working on a project to try and improve dentistry for families in Reading, and are inviting families to take part. Click here for more details.

Read more about our national body, Healthwatch England's position on NHS dentistry here, and the UK Government's new dentistry plans published on 7th February 2024, here.

Share your views on local dentistry

Have your voice heard and help to improve local services. Tell us what you think about local dental services (good or bad) or if you are unable to get the treatment that you need:

Call: 0118 214 5579
Online: click here to complete a short online form.
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