The emergency dental care that’s available during the coronavirus lockdown
PUBLISHED: 16:07 11 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:19 11 May 2020
Three specialist dental clinics in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are offering treatment for patients who need an emergency appointment during the coronavirus lockdown.
The Urgent Dental Care (UDC) hubs are available for anyone who is in severe pain and needs to see a dentist because they require an emergency procedure.
The clinics all adhere to social distancing measures and are equipped with the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) preventing the transmissions of COVID-19.
Rachel Webb, director of primary care and public health for NHS England and NHS Improvement in the East of England, said: “Since social distancing measures for COVID-19 and restrictions on people’s daily activity were introduced, all non-urgent ‘face to face’ dental activity has stopped; however people still have dental health issues that need urgent attention and need to be able to access the right care.
“In response, we have made a number of changes to the way we deliver our urgent and emergency dental services by setting up over 30 Urgent Dental Care hubs right across the region [East of England}.
“Each hub has been designed to meet the needs of people who are possible or confirmed COVID-19 patients, those who are shielded, those who are vulnerable or those who do not fit into those categories.”
To access the service, anyone who needs emergency dental care should first call their usual dental practice.
An assessment is carried out over the phone, and if urgent treatment is required, an appointment will be made at one of the treatment hubs.
Patients with an urgent or emergency dental condition cannot just turn up at the clinic - they need to be assessed and given a referral.
This is why their precise locations are not being publicly revealed.
Everyone that contacts the service needs to be triaged initially as this also helps manage the flow to centres for social distancing measures to be maintained
Those who cannot contact their dentist or do not have one, and still need urgent care, are advised to use the NHS 111 online service.
Local Dental Network Chairs Tom Norfolk and Nick Barker, said: “With dental practices now shut, these centres provide urgent dental treatment for those people that need it.
“Dentists wear full personal protection equipment (PPE), and patient flows are managed to ensure social distancing, so that the hubs are safe for both patients and clinicians.
“We continue to review and develop our regional operational procedures to support dentists and ensure patients receive the most safe and appropriate urgent dental care, working with partners to ensure a system-wide collaborative approach.”
Last month, the government announced that NHS England had set out plans to create UDCs across the country in response to thousands of patients needing urgent dental treatment.
While all NHS and private dental practices have the equipment to carry out emergency dental care, using dental drills can easily spread the coronavirus and a lack of PPE was keeping more than half of dentists at home.
Therefore, dentists and dental staff without the correct PPE were unable to work in conditions where they are especially vulnerable working with patients face-to-face.
Patients who are in pain, but do not require emergency treatment are being issued with antibiotics, temporary tooth filling kits and pain killers as a short term measure.
Have you had to visit an Urgent Dental Care hub in Cambridgeshire during the lockdown? Email your experience to firstname.lastname@example.org
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