Dental practices are able to reopen from today

Dental practices are able to reopen from today

Dental practices are able to reopen from today

Dental practices in England are able to reopen from today, as lockdown restrictions are eased.

But, many have said that similarly to care homes and other medical professionals, they’re struggling to find enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to keep themselves and patients safe as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Dentists have said that they are facing new challenges.

Although they are permitted to be open, patients have been warned not to expect it to be business as usual.

A return of high street dentistry will be welcome news to millions of patients left with few options during lockdown,’ says Mick Armstrong, chair of the British Dental Association, in a briefing following the Prime Minister’s address.

On May 28, chief dental officer Sara Hurley released ‘return to work’ guidance for dentists in the UK.

Her guidance includes details on the ideal patient flow and practice layout in order to encourage social distancing and minimise the amount of people in the practice at one time.

Patients can expect a skeleton service.

But Dr Kenny Hume, chairman of Lincolnshire’s Local Dental Committee, says he’s also concerned about a lack of PPE and access to fit testing for face masks.

He said:

“Both are real problems right now. What this means is that although practices may be open, it will be a limited service.

“Patients will notice a change in the way their dentists look because of the increased PPE, but services will be not as they were.”

Dr Hume added that because there isn’t the adequate PPE to protect dentists and patients, the treatment dentists provide will be limited and it will not involve dental drills.

A Poll for the British Dental Association shows that the majority – 64 per cent of 229 questioned – of dental practices estimate they will be able to treat less than quarter of the patient numbers they saw before lockdown.

Barely 11 per cent are in position to offer a full range of treatment, and only 37 per cent have PPE to hand to provide face-to-face care.

Patients can still access help in Urgent Care Centres, if needed.

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