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Dental Position- February 2022

NHS dental practices have not been able to provide dental care to the same number of patients due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is due to infection control measures, reduced numbers allowed in waiting rooms because of social distancing and the checks that need to take place before a patient enters the practice, which has resulted in fewer patient appointments. Wales is in the amber phase of the recovery process which means people who have an urgent dental problem and those who are vulnerable or have a severe medical condition are prioritised first for dental care. Next are patients who had their dental treatment stopped, and finally, people who need a routine dental check-up.

Some types of dental treatment require the use of dental equipment that produces a fine water mist, and these procedures are called Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs). In order for an AGP to be carried out, Welsh Government has stipulated that all NHS dental practices must have in place a standard operating procedure, which all dental team members must follow when undertaking AGP procedures. In addition to this, dental practices must have the appropriate ventilation units fitted in the surgery to improve the air quality following an AGP. The dental team will undertake a deep clean of the surgery following an AGP and may have to allow the air particles to settle before allowing the next patient to come in, this is known as ‘fallow time’.

The Covid-19 Omicron virus transmission is still high in the community, social distancing rules reduces the number of patients able to be in the dental practice, appointments are staggered and the necessary checks are in place prior to a patient attending their appointment and on patient entry to the practice. In addition, patients must wear a face covering when attending a dental appointment. With all of these measures in place, we can minimise the risk to dental team members and patients.

Urgent Care

If tooth or gum pain develops, contact your own dentist, as they can provide emergency treatment.

If you receive urgent dental treatment, the charge will be £14.70 unless you are exempt from paying NHS charges. If you do not have to pay for treatment, you will be asked to provide evidence of this when you attend the practice.

Toothache on its own (for example, toothache with no other accompanying symptoms or signs) is not a dental emergency.  Patients with toothache should not attend an Emergency Department.