Can you go to the dentist during UK lockdown and when will they reopen?
12 May 2020, 14:58 | Updated: 12 May 2020, 15:06
Can you go to the dentist for emergency appointments and when will they be open for routine check-ups?
The UK has been in lockdown since 23 March, with many businesses and services shutting up shop at this time.
Dentists were among those to close, with practices across the country being told to shut to help slow the spread of Covid-19.
When will dentists reopen after lockdown?
In a televised address to the nation on Sunday (10 May), Boris Johnson updated the public on the possible lockdown exit plan, revealing that measures are set to be eased in three phases.
Part of this plan could potentially see some retail businesses open in June, but it has not been explicitly stated whether dentists would be part of this.
On Monday (11 May), the British Dental Association (BDA) released a statement saying: "With the Prime Minister announcing last night a change in pandemic approach and advice (in England), thoughts are inevitably focusing this week on how dentistry fits into the revised landscape.
"For the time being, the distinct existing advice for practices in the four UK countries still applies.
"This means practices are still to treat initially via advice, analgesics and antibiotics where appropriate, and to triage care into the various urgent care systems.
"The Office of the CDO in England has reinforced the 'no change yet' message.
"Today they have stated: ‘the temporary cessation of routine dentistry addresses the safety of patients and of dental teams as well as supporting the public health measures required to slow community transmission of COVID-19’.
"However, discussions are taking place across the UK about dentistry emerging from the lockdown.
"This morning BDA Chair Mick Armstrong and I met with Health Minister Jo Churchill and CDO Sara Hurley and discussed the general approach in England, both for NHS and private practices.
"On Thursday we have the first meeting of an NHS England group looking at this in more detail."
When will dentists open for routine check-ups?
Practices in the UK are not currently open for routine check-ups, but some dentists have urged the government to allow them to reopen.
According to the Telegraph, 150 dentists have signed a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock urging him to allow them to do so.
Dr Rhona Eskander of the Chelsea Dental Clinic said: "Minor dentistry issues are now turning into major ones due to neglect in care as clients can’t have the restorative treatment in the clinic. It means the NHS is having to extract teeth that could’ve been saved."
Can you go to the dentist for emergency care?
There are currently some emergency dental care centres in the UK called Urgent Dental Care hubs (UDCs).
They were introduced to offer care for Fractured teeth, post-extraction bleeding, facial swelling, gum and other soft tissue infections, according to the BBC.
If you do need to see a dentist, you are advised to call your local practice, where a dentist may be able to prescribe medication over the phone.
If you do need to be seen for an emergency appointment, the advice is to call NHS 111.