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15 Mar 2020

Is it safe to go to the dentist, when will dental practices open and where can I find help?

The Covid-19 crisis has left many of us with questions, queries and worries. As this is an unprecedented situation, it has been very difficult to find answers, and this has made getting through the past couple of months a challenge for many. For those who need dental care, patients who have had treatments cancelled and individuals who are worried about going to the dentist in the future, it is possible to find the answers to some of the most common queries.

Some people are understandably worried about what to do if they need dental treatment or what will happen if practices are given the green light to reopen. One of the most pressing concerns for patients, especially who those who are experiencing symptoms like dental pain, is safety. With a large number of infections still being reported on a daily basis, people are anxious about leaving the house and they may have reservations about going to a dental centre, even if they are in agony or they need urgent assistance. While practices are closed, a series of urgent dental hubs has been set up to provide emergency care. These centres are equipped to provide treatment in the safest possible setting. Dentists and dental nurses have access to PPE (personal protective equipment), treatment rooms and utensils are cleaned and sterilised according to robust infection control guidelines and patients will have their temperature checked before the appointment begins. The exact location of the hubs has also not been disclosed to ensure that patients can only attend the centres if they have an appointment. During their time at a dental clinic during the lockdown, patients will be advised and given clear instructions to help them feel comfortable and safe.

UK dental practices have now been closed for several weeks, and many patients have questions about when they will reopen again. If you’re struggling with your mental health, or you had started a course of treatment before lockdown, you may be particularly worried about how long clinics will stay shut. There is no clear answer at the moment, but dentists across the country are preparing to ensure that they are ready to open as soon as it is safe to do so. The government and its advisory panel of scientific experts is analysing data constantly to determine which measures can be eased. For the moment, routine dentistry is on pause, but patients can access urgent assistance. Dentists are also taking calls from their patients to offer advice and provide information. When surgeries do reopen, patients can rest assured that the most stringent measures will be employed to make going to the dentist as safe as possible.

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