UK: Are dentists still open during Coronavirus? BDA addresses pressing dental questions

Dentist's office. Dentist caring for a patient's teeth.

People are wondering whether dentists are still open as updates continue to pour in.

At the moment, it's becoming increasingly important to determine what's open and what's not. 

In a recent statement, Boris Johnson has urged the public not to go to gatherings, pubs, cinemas and the like. Additionally, many are being encouraged to work from home, aiming to have as many people in self-isolation as possible to minimise further spread. 

As the situation develops, more and more businesses are closing their doors, with the recent announcement that such cinema chains as Odeon, Cineworld and Picturehouse have decided to close until further notice following government guidelines. 

Updates are coming thick and fast, but most can't help but feel concerned about their dental health at this time...

 

Are dentists still open?

Yes, dentists are still open. 

The British Dental Association (BDA) has published answers to a range of frequently asked questions on their site that you can access here.

One of the questions is: "Should I close my practice if a patient is found to have COVID-19?"

Their answer is: "Practices should remain open unless advised to close by their Health Protection Team. They will discuss the case, identify people who had been in contact with the affected person, conduct a risk assessment and advise on any actions or precautions to take."

While open, practised have been encouraged to appoint a COVID-19 lead.

There are currently a number of guidelines in place. According to the Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) standard operating procedure for Primary dental care settings (including community dental services): "Most patients presenting in primary dental care settings are unlikely to have COVID-19. If they have coughs, colds or flu-like symptoms but no relevant (COVID-19) travel or contact history, then management of their dental care should proceed in line with best practice and routine management of the cross-infection risks to staff/patients."

The NHS published a new update on Friday, March 20th which can be read here; it urged practices to drastically reduce routine check-ups by cancelling appointments with vulnerable groups etc.  

 

What to do if you urgently need dental care 

If you urgently need dental care, here's what to do...

If you're in self-isolation but need treatment, the BDA writes: "If you believe treatment is required, the patient should be told to call 111. This NHS team will triage and assess options for referral to a designated receiving unit for any COVID-19 urgent dental care cases."

On the other hand, it's worth addressing what you can do if you've tested positive for COVID-19 and need emergency dental treatment. In these circumstances, they note: "The dental practice should call their Health Protection Team who will advise the nearest hospital or speciality unit that the patient may be seen at."

Changes and adjustments are likely to be experienced in the coming weeks. 

In other news, Butlin's announces closures.

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