Dental Services in Norfolk and Waveney

From 1 April 2023, Norfolk and Waveney ICB took on delegated responsibility for commissioning and managing pharmaceutical, optometry, and dental services in Norfolk and Waveney. Delegated responsibility means that there is an agreement between NHS England and an ICB that enables the ICB to take on the responsibility for delivering NHS England functions.

This is a welcome change, as it gives us the opportunity to commission and design services differently to better meet local priorities and the needs of our people and communities.

However, we know that access to NHS dentistry services is challenging for many people right now.  Change will take time, but we are committed to ensuring everyone can access high quality dental care across Norfolk and Waveney.

In September the ICB’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee approved a Short Term Dental Plan to help to stabilise services in Norfolk and Waveney and to improve access to dental services. Read more about the Short Term Dental Plan here.

Find out more about accessing local NHS dental services, and how to make a complaint.

Routine dental appointments

If you or a family member need NHS dental care and regularly attend a dental practice, you should contact your practice directly to request an appointment.

There is a very limited number of dental practices who may be taking on new NHS patients in Norfolk and Waveney. NHS dental practices have been asked to regularly update their NHS UK website profiles to ensure that it accurately reflects their capacity to take on new NHS patients.

Norfolk and Waveney ICB is unfortunately unable to book appointments for treatment, or register patients for treatment.

Urgent dental treatment

If you require urgent dental treatment and attend a dental practice on a regular basis, please contact them first to request an urgent appointment. NHS dental practices have been asked to maintain a short notice cancellation list and may contact patients if capacity becomes available within their appointment books.

If your dental issues are not routine, such as toothache, facial pain, swelling, bleeding or broken teeth where the root may be exposed, please contact 111 and tell them that you require urgent dental care treatment. NHS 111 will signpost you to a dental service who has capacity depending on your clinical needs.

You can also approach any NHS dental practice and request care; however, it is important to note that NHS dental practices in Norfolk and Waveney may have a waiting list of patients who require dental care.

The NHS website also has information on how to find a dentist and what to do if you need urgent care.

As a local health and care system, we are investing £1.05m to improve access to urgent dental treatment. To do this, we are working with local dental professionals and have agreed additional funding to ensure more urgent dental appointments are available through an Urgent Treatment Service.

This will see urgent appointments provided by 20 dental providers across 27 locations in Norfolk and Waveney. This will be set up from October 2023 and will be available for referral by NHS111 following clinical assessment of the individual’s need for an urgent appointment only.

In addition to the above investment, we are also going to expand the current out hours service. We are aiming to both significantly increase the availability of appointments for people needing urgent treatment and to provide appointments across Norfolk and Waveney.

Our current out of hours provider of dental services in Norfolk and Waveney has offered to expand their services at weekends and bank holidays, as well as to provide an additional session per day, Monday to Friday, at their new site in Norwich. This dental provider has also expressed an interest in being involved in the pilot for direct booking from NHS 111. In addition, we are also considering proposals for urgent treatment sessions from a small number of other providers to expand capacity at weekends and bank holidays across Norfolk and Waveney.

Emergency / Out of Hours dental treatment

If you need emergency dental treatment out of hours, call your dentist as their voicemail may advise where to get Out of Hours treatment.

You can also call NHS 111 to find an out-of-hours dental service near you. 

Dental services for those with additional needs

Access to Special Care Dentistry Services is available for patients with additional needs and anxious patients who require care under sedation or general anaesthesia.

These services are generally available only upon referral from dental providers under the general dental practitioners (GDP) contract. More information about referral criteria is available here.

If you or someone you care for requires specialist services, please speak to your dental reception team in the first instance to enquire if they can refer into this service.

Dental services in care homes and for housebound patients

Access to urgent dental treatment for residents living in care homes and housebound patients is available in Norfolk and Waveney. Email to enquire about referrals to the service.

Oral health advice

The Dental Health Foundation website offers some helpful tips on how to look after your mouth and teeth, including advice on dealing with common complaints to help prevent them from becoming serious.

Find out more at

Looking to the future

NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB is looking to develop a dental strategy by March 2024 which sets out our commissioning approach and intentions for the next five years, how we plan to build resilience into our NHS dental services and improve general dental access, alongside the development of our local workforce plan.

How to make a complaint

From 1 July 2023 the way you can make a complaint about dental, pharmacy, and optometry services to the commissioner has changed.  Rather than contacting NHS England, you will now need to contact Norfolk and Waveney ICB. 

You can choose one of two ways to make a complaint about a primary care service: 

  • You can complain to the provider. This is the organisation where you received the NHS service, for example, the dental surgery   

  • You can complain to the commissioner of the service. This is the organisation that paid for the service or care you received (now Norfolk and Waveney ICB). 

If you would like to make a complaint about a primary care service to Norfolk and Waveney ICB, please visit our Complaints Page.