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15 May 2020

Dentists encourage patients with dental anxiety to get in touch if they need help or urgent care

The headlines are understandably dominated by Covid-19, and it can be difficult to escape bad news and worrying updates. With many people concerned about their health, dentists are encouraging anyone who is anxious about dental issues to get in touch.

Dental fear is very common among the general population, and at the moment, it is highly likely that anxiety levels have risen. For those who suffer from dental phobia or a fear of going to the dentist, dealing with dental ailments may be a scary prospect, especially without access to routine dental care.

Normally, when you have toothache, or your gums are sore, you can contact your local dental practice and make an appointment with your dentist. Today, with the country still in lockdown and dental clinics closed, many people will be anxious about even picking up the phone, let alone going to an emergency dental clinic. The message from dentists is that support and advice are available, and that patients who are prone to anxiety shouldn’t hesitate to contact their dentist if they have concerns.

There are many different types of dental problems that may crop up during the coming weeks, including dental injuries, cracked teeth, broken or dislodged fillings or crowns, chipped teeth, abscesses and tooth pain. The action taken will depend on the severity of the symptoms. For minor ailments, patients can look for information from reputable sources online or call their regular dentist for advice over the telephone or via social media or the practice website. Dentists are hosting video calls, webinars and social media live videos and they can also talk to patients on the phone to offer tailored advice.

For patients who develop serious symptoms, for example, acute, severe dental pain and a fever, it’s important to seek urgent action. Practices are not open as normal, but patients can access immediate treatment via urgent care centres, which are providing emergency dental treatment across the country. To access these services, individuals who have a dentist should consult them first and undergo telephone triage. Patients who are not currently registered with a practice can call NHS 111. If an emergency appointment is required, the patient will be referred to a local hub.

Dentists understand that the prospect of undergoing treatment in an unfamiliar setting during a pandemic is difficult and daunting for patients who have dental anxiety or dental phobia. There are stringent measures in place to protect both staff and patients, and anyone who does visit an urgent care centre will be told what to expect beforehand. In many ways, the experience will be the same as going to your dentist normally, but staff will be wearing extra PPE and they will also be checking the patient’s temperature before they enter. The dental team working at each emergency centre is on hand to help patients, and to ensure they feel as safe, comfortable and relaxed as possible.

There is worry that patients who have a phobia or extreme anxiety linked to undergoing dental treatment may avoid seeking help. If you are in pain, or you’re worried about your teeth or gums, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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