Looking After Your Teeth: Access to Dental Care during the Coronavirus (Covid-19)

During the coronavirus we have all been asked to stay home, protect the NHS and to save lives.
This however, has had a huge impact on the availability of routine and emergency dental care in the country.

All dental practices have been asked to stop all face to face routine dental care including:

• Dental check ups
• Preventative care such as hygienist visits
• X-rays
• Appointments for braces
• Cosmetic dental treatment including white fillings, veneers and crowns
• Tooth whitening
• Routine denture treatment
• Any treatment on teeth that are not painful

If you have an imminent routine dental appointment booked at your practice, it is likely it will not go ahead. If you have not been contacted by your practice already, then we recommend that you contact them to rebook your visit.
Most dental practices will have websites or social media accounts, so we recommend you check these for further updates.

Wherever possible, stay home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. This is regardless of what age you are or whether you have symptoms or not.

So what do I do if I have a dental emergency?

The first step is to call your dental practice. Most practices are triaging their own patients over the telephone and will likely be able to try and help you by:

1. Giving you the appropriate advice
2. Helping to manage your dental pain possibly with painkiller medication
3. Prescribing antibiotics if necessary
4. Referring you to an Urgent Dental Hub if appropriate

If you are not registered with a dental practice, please call 111 and they will also try to help you.

What constitutes is a dental emergency during the coronavirus pandemic?

During normal times, most dental practices would do their utmost to see their patients who have a dental problem however big or small, and as soon as possible. The usual emergencies would be chipped teeth, lost fillings or crowns, dental pain and swellings.
However, during this current period of lockdown, the availability of emergency dental treatment is severely restricted as the risk of virus transmission is so great.

During lockdown only severe dental emergency cases such as:

• A painful tooth which doesn’t improve with painkillers or antibiotics
• Facial swellings
• Uncontrolled bleeding
• Traumatic injuries to the mouth

are being treated and that too at specially designated locations called Urgent Dental Centres (UDC’s).

In order to access these UDC’s, you will usually need to call your own dentist or 111 and will likely only be referred if you meet the criteria for treatment.

Please therefore take care of your teeth during this time but rest assured that should a dental problem arise, your dentist will only be a phone call away.