Coronavirus : Are dentists open during the lockdown ?
Thousands of people in England are potentially unable to access urgent dental services in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The British Dental Association (BDA) told the BBC that dentists in England are being bombarded by calls from patients in real pain, but there is often nowhere to send them.
What’s the problem in England ?
At the moment, all routine dental care has stopped. On 20 March, a letter was sent by England’s chief dental officer asking practices to “radically reduce the number of routine check-ups”.
Five days later, practices were told to stop all routine treatment “until otherwise advised”. The decision was made in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
For patients with emergency dental problems, NHS England is in the process of creating local Urgent Dental Care hubs (UDCs) across the country.
However, the BDA says only a tiny number of these sites have been set up so far.
UDCs are designed to provide care for people with urgent and emergency dental problems, after a referral from their local practice. They are meant to offer treatment to patients with symptoms that include:
Gum and other soft tissue infections
UDCs are also meant to accommodate patients both with and without Covid-19 symptoms.
Some hospitals are offering emergency walks-ins for dental patients, which means some treatment is still available. The NHS also says that some surgeries will offer appointments at short notice.
However, a number of patients have told the BBC they were struggling to access any local service, despite being in constant pain.
NHS England has been repeatedly approached for a response, but it has been unable to provide comment.
Coronavirus: Are dentists open during the lockdown? - BBC News