How to get an NHS dentist appointment during COVID-19

Routine dental care has had to change because of COVID-19, with social distancing rules making it difficult to access services. Here’s some information on how to access an NHS dentist during the pandemic.

From 8 June 2020, dentists were given the green light to reopen as long as they have social distancing measures and the right personal protective equipment in place.

As a result, not all services or practices will be available from this date and there will be fewer appointments available.

How do I find a dentist?

To get the help you need you can:

  • Phone your local dentist to get information about their opening hours and advice on where you can go to get the care you need
  • If you don’t have a dentist or your dentist is closed, you can contact any local dental practice. You can also phone NHS 111. Translation services are available.
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing visit

Do not visit a dentist without an appointment. 

Practices will need to prioritise their patients based upon their needs. The British Dental Association advises:

  • If you call to make an appointment, you will be asked some screening questions. You’ll be asked those same questions again at your appointment
  • You will probably be asked to use hand sanitiser or to wash your hands when you arrive (and again before you leave)
  • Social distancing measures will be in place in the waiting rooms
  • Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.

I need urgent dental assistance – what can I do?

For urgent advice on any oral health issue you can call:

  • NHS 111 (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • Greater Manchester Urgent Dental Care Service on 0333 332 3800
  • The dental helpline at 01788 539780 (local rate call in the UK) for free and impartial advice between 9 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday.


Healthwatch Manchester has received a lot requests for information about NHS Dentistry during COVID-19.

If you need further information and signposting to a local dentist accepting new NHS patients, email us at or call us on 0161 228 1344.

Looking for information about health and care?

Find advice and information to help you stay well and make decisions about your health and social care support.

Find advice and information