Finding a dentist in 2024

Written by Dr Catherine Rutland
Published on 29/6/2023
Updated on 23/01/24

For this article, we reached out to our Clinical Director, Catherine Rutland, to get her advice for patients as they navigate today's world of dentistry. Catherine was recently featured in Dentistry’s Top 50 for 2023, released by FMC Dentistry, and was awarded her Fellowship of the College of General Dentistry in June 2023. 

Read on for Catherine’s expert insight:

Profile picture of Catherine Rutland

Finding the right dentist for you

We all know the age-old saying, ‘an apple a day will keep the doctor away’; well, brushing your teeth twice a day will keep the dentist away…Well, maybe not away, but very happy. 


As a former dentist, I can’t express enough how important it is to maintain your oral health. It’s so closely linked to your overall health and wellbeing, and by having regular visits to the dentist, you can make sure you keep on top of your health and deal with any issues quickly. Since the pandemic, many people have gotten out of the routine, and the availability of appointments in certain areas can add to the difficulty of maintaining regular appointments. 


We wanted to provide some advice and guidance to help you get back into a dental care routine.

NHS vs Private dentists

There is a lot of noise in the media around the lack of availability of NHS appointments, but many dentists still offer NHS services. One thing to remember when looking for a new dentist, NHS dentistry is not free. There is still a cost involved, which can be found on the NHS website.

To reassure you, if you're choosing to go private, the treatment you receive will still be of the same high standard you are accustomed to, but we believe patients will have a greater choice of: 

  • Possible treatments available
  • Materials that can be used for treatments, and dentists will have more time available to spend with patients and be able to offer high-quality, preventive dentistry 
  • More time for preventive care for children’s teeth so there’s a higher chance they grow up never needing any dental treatment

What to look for in a dentist?

If you don’t already have a dental practice you attend regularly, finding one can feel daunting. I recommend asking your friends and family or work colleagues where they go and finding out whether they are happy. If someone you know trusts and likes a practice, the chances are you will too. 

Once you have this information, look at any information the practice may have online, for example, on a website. This should give you an idea about what type of practice they are, whether NHS, private, or both. It should also indicate what types of treatment they carry out at the practice and a guide to any costs. 

Have a Simplyhealth plan?

Don’t forget you can claim back dental costs. And your entitlement refreshes annually, helping make oral health part of your routine.

How to join a dental practice and claim back the costs 

Most practices still use the telephone to make appointments, so give your chosen practice a call and have a chat. They will guide you through the booking process and warn you of any charges for your first visit.

After that first appointment, the dentist will be able to talk you through any treatment you may require and provide an estimate of costs. If you have a Simplyhealth plan, you can claim back your appointment and treatment costs, depending on your entitlement limit and your T&Cs. 

While most dentists would like to see you regularly, between one and two times a year, you can do things daily to keep your teeth in tip-top condition. Check out our other articles for advice and guidance.

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