Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the UK would go into lockdown on March 23. As a result, dentists closed their doors to all but emergency treatment. Due to the nature of dentistry, dentists had to close to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Now Boris Johnson has changed the lockdown rules, does this mean you can visit your dentist again?

Are dentists open?

Dentists are currently only open for dental emergencies.

All routine appointments, including routine fillings and maintenance procedures, have ceased.

The British Dental Association (BDA) is continuing to evaluate when dental practices can reopen in the future.


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The BDA issued an update on Monday, which read: “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.”


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When can you visit your dentist?

Some dentists have been taking virtual consultations instead of in-clinic appointments.

This is because for nearly two months now, all routine dentistry has not been going ahead.

Dentists are allowed to treat patients with dental emergencies, so if you think you may have a dental emergency the NHS recommends you call your dentist.

If you cannot contact your dentist or do not have one, use the NHS 111 online service if you think you need urgent dental treatment.

You should only go to A&E in serious circumstances, such as if you have severe pain, heavy bleeding or injuries to the face, mouth or teeth.

NHS 111 will be able to advise you if you’re not sure if you need to go to A&E.

It is also not clear when exactly dental practices will completely resume normal operation.

However, the Government has recently made it clear the lockdown could continue for many more months, therefore it may be a while before dentists can fully reopen.

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