How to Access Dental Care


It is important that all care home residents are registered with a dentist and they have regular check ups. This applies whether they have their own teeth or not. The dentist can inspect teeth, gums and soft tissues and also refer a resident to a specialist if required. A dentist can also help devise a tailored oral care plan which can help assist care home nurses in delivering their care.

Maxiumum_size_logoThe main reasons oral care is important for older people are:

  • Poor oral health affects overall health, nutrition and quality of life
  • The number of older people in the population, including dependent older people, continues to rise
  • Many older people are retaining their natural teeth, which makes caring for their mouth more challenging for care staff
  • The number of older people with co-morbidities in care homes is rising and poor oral care can have a detrimental impact on their systemic health
  • Dependent older people will struggle in performing their own oral care satisfactorily and may rely on others for help to maintain their health and welfare

Dental access for mobile residents

To find out which local practices offer NHS treatment, you can contact a dentist near you. Alternatively you can call NHS 111 (helpline).

Emergency dental treatment

call-111-when-it-is-less-urgent-than-999You may need urgent treatment if you have:

  • Toothache or swelling that suggests an infection of a tooth or gum
  • Severe toothache or facial pain which is not controlled by taking over-the-counter painkillers
  • Trauma of the face, mouth or teeth after a recent accident or injury
  • Permanent tooth has been knocked out
  • Bleeding after tooth extraction that you cannot control
  • Serious swelling of the mouth or face which is getting worse [1]

In this case it is best to contact your local dentist who will have dedicated emergency appointments. If a resident is not registered with a dentist then Urgent care can be offered by calling NHS 111. This also applies to out of hours care.

Home visits/domiciliary care

Home visits/domiciliary care is usually provided by the community dental service. Residents will usually be able to visit a general dentist, however for those who cannot be taken to a dental practice, domiciliary care is available. There are some dental practices which can also provide home visits.

Dental contacts across KSS:

  • Sussex Community Health Service: referral form (including information on domiciliary visits)