Coronavirus (COVID-19): Accessing dental services

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced the temporary closure of dental practices across Scotland. This is under constant review and we are looking at ways to safely improve your access to a wider range of dental care.

Why your local dental practice is closed

Dental practices closed to help comply with ongoing physical distancing measures in place in Scotland. In addition the type of care normally provided at the dentist relies on dental equipment that creates a fine spray of air and water, also known as aerosol. This aerosol is a transmission risk for coronavirus in much the same way as a sneeze. Routine dental care was stopped to protect patients, dental teams and the wider general public.

Getting help with a dental problem

If you have a dental problem you should in the first instance always telephone the dental practice that you normally attend. If you are not registered with any dental practice then your nearest dental practice will still be able to help.

A dentist will discuss your problem by telephone and give you:

  • advice on managing your problem
  • guidance on the safe use of painkillers and, if necessary antibiotics to treat minor infections and provide you with relief

If this doesn't resolve your problem you should phone your dentist again. It may be that your problem cannot be managed without a face to face appointment at your nearest urgent dental care centre where a wider range of care can be provided.

You should always tell your dentist if you or someone you live with has any signs or symptoms of coronavirus. This will help them ensure your safety and that of others when you receive care.

Urgent dental care centre centres

Urgent dental care centres are able to offer a wider range of acute and urgent dental care in an environment that is designed to minimise the risk of coronavirus being spread.

It was initially necessary to restrict the range of treatments available in urgent dental care centres however the scope of this service has now been expanded to deal with a wider range of acute and urgent dental problems including:

  • temporary fillings
  • removal of teeth and prescribing of antibiotics to help manage infection
  • in some cases removing the nerve of your tooth as this can sometimes provide relief

Some additional treatments may be provided based upon your clinical need and considering the risks and benefits of the procedure. Your safety and the safety of others is an essential consideration when providing treatment in urgent dental care centres.

Getting to your local urgent dental treatment centre

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.

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