Dental check-ups and treatments involve close contact between the dentist and patient and so should not take place if they are not urgent. Also, dentists and their teams have to avoid, wherever possible, using tools like drills and the ones used for scales and polishes. This is to prevent them from catching the virus from an infected patient and passing it on to other patients. Drills and other high-speed tools create a lot of ‘spray’ from patients’ mouths so dentists need to use protective clothing and equipment. COVID-19 has a seven-day period before symptoms show, where someone wouldn’t know they had it and could pass it on to others. If an unsuspecting patient had a filling, the spray from doing that procedure would likely infect the dentist and the nurse.
The Chief Dental Officer has advised that dental practices should cease seeing patients for dental treatment during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Local dental practices (General Dental Practitioners) remain responsible for assessing all patients that call the practice, regardless of whether they have a regular dentist. They will be able to provide you with telephone advice and recommend available treatments. This service is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
From 8am to 5pm, 111 will direct all patient calls to local NHS dental services. 111 will manage patient calls outside the hours of 9-5 Monday to Friday, including weekends and bank holidays.
What if I have a dental emergency?
Assuming you have not got COVID-19 related symptoms, you should call your dental practice. They will be able to decide what your options are. If you believe or know you have COVID-19 and have a dental emergency, please phone NHS 111.