Forth Valley Dentists Re-Open For Urgent Treatment

Dentists across Forth Valley are now able to re-open to treat patients in need of urgent dental care.

Since lockdown began, dentists have been taking calls from their patients and arranging emergency treatment at the Urgent Dental Care Centre (UDCC) in Falkirk where treatment has been restricted to relief of pain and prevention of infection. Now, in line with national guidance as part of Scotland’s move into phase two of its route-map out of lockdown, each dental practice can open for their own patients but will be limited to a list of 10 patients per day (although there will be some practices who are able to run two lists of 10 patients).

The dental practices have been risk assessed to offer patients a service where physical  distancing of 2 metres can be applied and the dentists have been provided with the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) for each patient.

Dentists will see patients for pain, infection, trauma or a worrying patch in the mouth and can offer specific treatments or refer them to the nearest UDCC where special precautions have been put in place.  Routine inspections and fillings and other restorations will not be carried out at this stage. Dentists will also not be able to carry out any procedure that generates an aerosol (water droplets in the air) so they are unable to provide any treatments which require dental drilling.

Dental Director for NHS Forth Valley, Jennifer Rodgers, said: “There is a risk to patients and dental staff when using dental equipment that generates an aerosol and this includes fillings, crown preparation and surgical or complex extractions. These procedures will still not be possible in dental practices in Scotland at this time. For patients who have an emergency that urgently requires one of these procedures, your dentist will make arrangements to see you in the nearest UDCC where special precautions have been put in place.”

Ms Rodgers added:  “Over the past 10 weeks, many of the Forth Valley dental practice dentists have volunteered to work in the UDCCs of the Public Dental Service as well as in other roles in the Health Board. This was a unique situation and I would like to thank all staff of the Public Dental Service as well as the dental practices, for their willing and dedication to helping the people of Forth Valley and their colleagues during this outbreak. These UDCCs in the Public Dental Service will remain open while the dentists are limited in the numbers and treatments they can do, and both services will run alongside one another for the next few weeks.”

Although dental practices can start to open from 22nd June 2020, some practices may open after this date.

Meanwhile the public are reminded that it is really important to look after their teeth as well as possible at all times but especially now.  This includes restricting sugar-containing foods to meal times and brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste to help to keep your mouth healthy.

Anyone with a dental emergency at any time should call their local dental practice for advice.