Coronavirus (COVID-19): Accessing dental services

It is now possible to access a wider range of dental services within your local community.

Getting help with a dental problem

If you have a dental problem you should call the dental practice that you normally attend in the first instance. The team will give you advice about the options available and guide you to make sure you get the right treatment.

Not registered with a dental practice

If you are not registered with any dental practice then your nearest dental practice will still be able to help. They will provide you with information on contacting your local health board hub for advice on dental emergencies.

During out of hours, if you have an urgent dental problem, you can still contact NHS 24 on 111.

Dental emergencies include, but are not limited to:

  • toothache or mouth pain
  • abscesses and swellings in and around the mouth
  • bleeding
  • trauma
  • non-healing ulcers that have no obvious cause and last for several weeks

Visiting your dental practice for treatment

High street dental practices are now open for the provision of a full range of dental services, however due to physical distancing and enhanced infection control measures this is not yet business as usual.

You should not attend your dental practice unless you have an appointment. You should do your best to attend only at the time agreed with the dental team as failure to do so can result in a breakdown in physical distancing measures.

Your dental appointment

It is essential to maintain physical distancing to ensure your continued safety. Each dental practice will have an approach to physical distancing. This information will be provided to you if you require an appointment.

It is important that you follow any advice given, such as needing to wear a face covering, as this information is provided for your safety and the safety of the dental team.

Available treatments

It is now possible for your dentist to provide aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) for a full range of NHS treatments. There is a limited number of appointments available for this type of procedure. Priority must be given to those patients with urgent dental problems and patients from vulnerable groups.

An enhanced level of personal protective equipment (PPE) is necessary to provide this type of care, however not every dental team member can safely wear this PPE.

It may be possible for your dentist to refer you to a colleague within the practice for this procedure if you require urgent care.

If your dentist has the capacity, they may make these treatments available to patients who require non-urgent care.

Your COVID status

If you have any symptoms of coronavirus or have been advised to self-isolate, your dentist will be unable to see you for an appointment.

If you have any symptoms of coronavirus or have been advised to self-isolate your dentist will be unable to see you for a face to face appointment. Where you have an urgent dental problem and are registered with a dental practice you should still contact your dentist for advice. Your dentist will be able to manage your problem appropriately taking account of your isolation status. If you are not registered with a dentist you should follow the advice ‘Not registered with a dental practice’ as detailed above.

If you have difficulty in travelling safely to the urgent dental care centre you should tell the dentist you speak to on the phone. Your health board will contact you about your travel requirements.

It may be possible for your dentist to refer you to one of around 70 urgent dental care centres situated across Scotland.

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Source: Scottish Government

Last updated:
23 August 2021

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