Routine dentistry during COVID-19 requires the correct social distancing measures and personal protective equipment to be in place.
Dental practices are open
In the first national lockdown, dental practices closed (or as good as) for around 12 weeks. However, during this second national lockdown, practices remain open.
Dental practices are safe
Dentists and their teams have trained in oral health care but also infection prevention and control too. Dental practices are well-versed in providing safe care and having practised cross-infection control for many years, using personal protective equipment.
The experience of going to a dentist might be different now, but they remain safe places to be.
Patients might need to be patient
Many practices are still catching up from when they were closed during the first national lockdown and those delivering NHS care in particular may have a backlog.
For these practices, their priorities are likely to be:
NHS and private care
Some patients might find that a treatment is available quicker privately than it is on the NHS. As with medical care, this is often because the queue for NHS treatment is longer. It may simply be that there are many more people looking for NHS appointments than private appointments. Many practices will provide a mix of NHS and private care. But those practices will have a limit to the amount of NHS care they are able to provide.
Calling the practice
Please make sure you keep your appointment if you have one; it’s going to be safe and it’s important we don’t waste limited resources. If you can’t make an appointment, your practice may be able to offer it to someone else who really needs it.
If you’re looking for care, you may receive initial remote advice via the phone or video call. This may lead to advice being given or the arrangement of an appointment if the dentist deems it necessary. Some routine care like a check-up might be delayed, potentially until next year unfortunately.
Please be assured that dentists are working within the current guidelines issued by governments and are doing their best to help patients wherever possible.
Receptionists are also doing their best to ensure that priority cases are treated as soon as possible. Please treat all the staff with respect. We know it can be stressful, but they are doing their best to help.
Please check in with your own practice or if you haven’t regularly sought care:
Phone NHS 111 if you live in England, Northern Ireland or Wales
What are dental appointments like?
Practices are using personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and aprons and social distancing measures to keep staff and patients safe.
If you call to make an appointment, you will be asked some screening questions. You’ll be asked those same questions again at your appointment to see if anything has changed since you booked
You will be asked to use hand sanitiser when you arrive (and again before you leave)
You will be asked to wear a mask in the waiting rooms if you can
You will also find that waiting rooms might look a little different with two metre markers in place
You will also notice that the dental team may be wearing different protective equipment to what you are used to seeing – this will be to increase your protection
Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.
How you can help:
Please do not arrive without an appointment
With the exception of children and persons in need, patients should come alone
Patients should attend wearing a mask if possible or be prepared to wear one. A distance of at least two metres must be observed if another patient is present in the dental practice
Please do not arrive early to the practice. If necessary, you should wait outside the practice
Staff will not shake your hand
If you show symptoms following appointment booking, you should contact NHS Test and Trace
It is likely to be some time before dental services can return to what you previously experienced as normal.
However, your dental teams will be doing all they can to ensure you receive the treatment you require in the safest way.
Angle End, Great Wilbraham, Cambridge CB21 5JG