The Government took the decision to suspend all routine face-to-face dental care appointments to allow more people to stay at home and away from others. However, urgent dental care for the minority of cases that require it will be available.
The following process has been put in place to ensure people can access urgent dental care:
- All NHS practices are expected to be providing urgent telephone advice and triage. Anyone with a regular dentist should as a first step call their practice. They should not visit the practice. The dentist will do everything they can over the phone, including giving advice and, if needed, prescriptions for painkillers or antibiotics which can then be collected from or delivered by a local pharmacy.
- Anyone without a regular dentist may refer to https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-dentist to find details of a local practice. They may also call NHS 111 if dental practices are not available to access assessment and advice over the phone.
- The dentist or NHS 111 will, if they think that urgent face-to-face treatment is needed, refer on to a designated Urgent Dental Care site for any necessary emergency dental treatment to be carried out.
To support our NHS it is vital that everyone uses this dental triage system and does not visit A&E departments with dental problems.
The Government have been working round the clock to ensure there is sufficient provision of Personal Protection Equipment for dentists providing urgent dental care. The PPE plan launched by the Secretary of State last week, will ensure that critical PPE will continue to be delivered to everyone on the frontline responding to coronavirus.
As well as ensuring patients can continue to access urgent dental care, the Government has focussed on ensuring financial support is available from NHSE&I. For private dental earnings, support is provided from the Treasury as part of the Chancellor’s wider economic support package.
The Government is working closely with the Chief Dental Officer, patient groups and the British Dental Association to ensure appropriate services are in place for all who need them. The Government is also discussing with corporate and private providers how they may be able to support the NHS effort in areas of the country where current emergency dental provision is more limited so patients do not have to travel far for treatment.
The Government have put in place measures which ensure the minority of people who require urgent dental care will be able to receive it. But the main thing we can all do right now is to stay at home, in order to protect our NHS and save lives.