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What is a dentist?

Dentists (also known as dental surgeons) provide a wide range of services to treat or prevent conditions affecting the mouth such as dental decay.

Dentists in England may offer private or NHS treatment or a mixture of both. Dental practices can vary in size from a sole trader operating alone to large organisations with practices spread across the country.

A fresh start to the way we inspect and regulate dental care services

Download the document below to find out about the changes we're making to the way we inspect and regulate dental care services.

A fresh start for the regulation and inspection of dental care services PDF | 421.99 KB

Types of dentist

There are three main types of dentist you can search for on this website: dental clinics, NHS hospital dental services and private hospital dental services. You can use the links below to find the services you need.

Dental clinics

  • Includes all dental surgeries
  • Can be paid for by the NHS or privately.
  • More than 90 per cent are run from a single location.

Hospital dental services

  • Services offered may be more complex than those offered by ‘high street’ dental clinics.
  • They may include the treatment of conditions affecting the facial bones, jaws and salivary glands.

Our latest findings

From our Care Update...

Our latest Care Update includes details of how well primary dental care services were meeting standards up until the end of last year.

At the end of 2012, there were 10,139 dental services in England registered with us, an increase of just 0.1 per cent on the year before.

The figures from our inspections show that the performance of the dental sector is very good compared to other parts of the health and care system. Of the 3,021 services we have inspected up to that point, we found 92 per cent were meeting all the standards we check.

From inspections carried out between April and December 2012, we found strong performance in several important areas.

  • 99 per cent of services were treating patients with respect and involving them in discussions about their care.
  • 98 per cent of inspections found patients' needs were being fully assessed and they were getting the treatment they needed.
  • Our inspectors found patients were being appropriately protected from the risk of abuse and infection, with both standards being met by 94 per cent of services.

There were two areas where our inspectors have seen dental services performing less well.

  • Only 85 per cent of inspections found staff were being recruited effectively with thorough checks carried out.
  • In just 81 per cent of services, patient records were kept up to date, safe and confidential.