Note of caution as dental practices continue to resume services

Note of caution as dental practices continue to resume services

Dental practices across Lanarkshire are gradually continuing to resume services – but patients are being reminded there is no return to ‘business as usual’.

Since June 22, 2020, dentists have be able to see patients for some limited routine care.

Now, on the chief dental officer’s instruction, there will be a reintroduction of Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs) from Monday 17th August.

From that date practices will be able to use their high speed drills and the 3-in-1 (the air and water gun). That means, with enhanced PPE, dentists will be able to deliver additional treatments to their patients.

NHS Lanarkshire’s Clinical Director, General Dental Services, Laura Milby, said the development is a positive step forward – but stressed that the changes didn’t signal a move back to pre-pandemic service.

“Practices are still only allowed to undertake AGPs to provide urgent dental care, and because of the additional decontamination requirements associated with undertaking AGPs, only a very small number of patients will be able to be treated in this way,” explained Ms Milby.

“Not all dental practices will be offering AGPs initially and it will be a gradual process of reintroduction. The reintroduction of AGPs is, however, good news as patients will begin to be able to be seen again in their own practice and will not have to travel to the Urgent Dental Care Centre.”

Dentists are currently not able to provide routine examinations, ultrasonic scale and polish, crowns, veneers or routine fillings.

With the reintroduction of AGPs, dentists will be able to use the high speed drill to access teeth, but only  to relieve pain or swelling. They will continue to provide a number of other treatments including extractions, dressings of broken teeth and repairs to dentures.

Ms Milby added: “I would like to thank everyone for their continued patience and understanding as we all adapt to these changes and our new way of working.”

Key information:

·         Patients will continue to notice changes when they attend their dental practices. The front doors will remain closed and patients can only attend if they have an appointment. Where possible patients should attend the practice alone.

·         Practices will have limited surgeries operating at the same time and the number of patients attending daily remains reduced.

·         When calling to book an appointment, staff will complete a Covid-19 assessment with the patient and this will be repeated when the patient arrives for their appointment. Individual practices will have their own processes in place, so please make sure you follow them.

·         Due to the restricted number of treatments available, there will be no charge for any NHS treatment that dentists provide at this time.

·         Patients should always contact their own dental practice for advice. During out-of-hours, patients with urgent dental problems should continue to contact NHS 24 on 111.

·         Please visit your dental practice’s website or social media channels for updates.

·         If you are not registered with a dentist, please call the NHS Lanarkshire General Enquiry line on 0300 3030 243 for a list of local dentists. Out of normal working hours you should contact NHS 24 on 111.

·         For managing dental problems at home please read this advice sheet. For further information, please visit the British Dental Association. For the latest information on accessing dental services, please visit NHS Inform.