The CDO ‘preparedness letter’ was issued on 20th March. Although this recommends reducing the number of routine check-ups by cancelling patients from vulnerable groups and establishing local arrangements to consolidate, where necessary, the provision of any essential, routine NHS work that cannot be delayed and urgent dental problems it fails to address the issue of practices providing routine treatment to potentially asymptomatic covid-19 patients.
The BDA and LDCs across the UK are suggesting that dentists should consider whether to close their respective practices to all routine dentistry from the week commencing 23 March 2020.
Many practices have already done this and it is probable that some will need to close completely in the near future, however they will retain a responsibility to ensure emergency & urgent care can be provided. Please make sure you have contingency arrangements with local practice networks.
Urgent dental care is defined within the NHS England and NHS Improvement National Commissioning Standard for Urgent Dental Care. It may also be of assistance to review the list of treatments which can be provided under NHS Band 1 urgent can be found in Schedule 4 of the NHS Dental Charges Regulation (2005).
The use of aerosol generating equipment should be avoided wherever possible, even when treating urgent or emergency cases.
The CDO has said that dental services should not be delivered to those with potential covid symptoms or those in their households. If urgent or emergency treatment by anyone in these group they should be referred to specialist centres which are being established by NHS England. Further details of these clinics will be forwarded as they become available.