NHS Cheshire & Greater Manchester

Referral Guidance for Looked After Children

Important notes

This form should be used to refer a child aged 0-18 years who is looked after to dental services for a routine dental check-up (every 3-months unless advised otherwise), and/or they need an oral health assessment as part of the comprehensive annual health assessment when they have been unable to access dental services through channels below.

Before you make this referral, the team should make every effort to arrange a dental appointment:

  1. If the child has a usual dentist, you can ring them directly and request a priority appointment for a looked after child.
  2. If the child does not have a usual dentist, you can ring any local dentist directly requesting a priority appointment for a looked after child. You can find details of local dentists online or at Find a dentist NHS.
  3. If the child is in pain, and you are unable to get appointment with a dentist, you can access urgent dental care:
    1. In Greater Manchester, ring the Manchester Urgent Dental Care Service 0333 332 3800 which is available every day 8:00-22:00 including weekends and bank holidays, for Cheshire & Merseyside the number is 0161 476 9651. You should advise the operator that the child is looked after and that the child does not need to be present for this phone call or subsequent telephone consultation. Translation services should be made available.
    2. Ring NHS 111 who can assist every day from 22.00 through to 08.00

NHS Charges do not apply to dentistry for children under 18 years or under 19 years if in full time education. 

The child should be accompanied to the dental appointment by a parent or carer who can provide consent for examination. The dentist will discuss future treatment needs at the first appointment and may need to seek further consent before proceeding.  

A copy of this referral form and discharge summary, including did not attend, will be emailed to the referrer, the social worker and the GP. If the child cannot be seen within the general dental service, you will be advised and directed to the appropriate service.