Coronavirus (COVID-19): Accessing dental services

As the lockdown measures begin to ease in Scotland, it is now possible to access a range of dental services within your local community.

When will my dentist be able to see me for treatment?

Dental practices are beginning to open for some face to face consultations. This can only be achieved when careful physical distancing measures are in place.

Each practice will prepare its facilities to accept a small number of patients each day for urgent dental care. All practices may not be ready to open at the same time but the aim is to have all practices open for urgent care as soon as possible.

Careful physical distancing must be maintained to reduce the risk of further community spread of coronavirus. You should only attend your dental practice if you have a pre-arranged appointment and at the time agreed. Your dental practice will inform you of the exact protocols to follow should an appointment be needed.

Non-urgent routine dental care is still not available.

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 and you will be offered an emergency appointment.

Your dentist will be able to offer a limited range of treatments including:

  • temporary fillings
  • removal of teeth
  • prescribing of antibiotics to help manage infection

In some cases, you may need to be referred to 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 deal with a wider range of acute and urgent dental problems.

Urgent dental care centres can see more patients and carry out a wider range of treatments that your local dentist cannot.

In addition to the treatment available to your local dental practice, urgent dental care centres may, in some cases be able to remove 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.

When will routine dental care resume?

These measures are under constant review. Some of the services you normally expect from your dentist have been resumed and you should expect for this to be expanded further when it is considered safe to do so.

At all stages it must be ensured that dental care does not increase the risk of community spread of coronavirus.

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