As dental practices are now starting to provide face to face treatment across Tees Valley, the message from health bosses is, if you need help from a dentist, contact your practice by phone or email. Please don’t visit your practice unless you’ve been advised to.
David Gallagher, chief officer, NHS Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: ‘A number of changes have been introduced to dental practices re-opening following easing of the COVID-19 lockdown. This is due to a suggested potential risk of virus transmission from aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs).
‘The use of drills and other devices during dental procedures generates aerosol particles from the mouth, which could contribute to the spread and transmission of Covid-19, therefore for the safety of staff and patients, several changes have been introduced.
‘Dentists are now offering advice and support using telephone assessment and consultation prior to being given an appointment, you will be asked screening questions on the phone and initial priority for appointments will be dental emergencies and urgent dental care.’
Charlie Daniels, chair of the Tees Local Dental Committee added: ‘It remains vitally important that anyone in pain contact their local dental surgery. A big consideration in dental practices is the high daily volume of patients seen in a relatively confined physical space. Dentists also work in very close proximity to their patients, both factors which further increase the potential risk of virus transmission.
‘The range of treatments you will be offered may be different to what you have received previously, treatments may vary from practice to practice and this depends on the staff and equipment available. This will ensure the practice can continue to provide essential care safely. You will also see social distancing rules, enhanced hand hygiene, a limited number of appointments per day, limited use of waiting areas and toilets and of course staff will wear Personal Protective Equipment.’
If you don’t have a regular dentist, you can call any local dental practice who will provide you with advice and arrange treatment if needed. You can also use the NHS 111 online service. Outside normal dental practice hours and at weekends, patients should contact NHS111 to access advice and support.