Locally, people have told us of their confusion about how to access dental care and this issue is echoed nationally. We want to ensure you have the information to get the help you need.
Routine dental care is not available while the country is in the delay phase of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Local Urgent Dental Hubs are being set up to ensure you can get help in an dental emergency.
Some patients may require urgent dental care because they have one of the following:
- Dental infections or infections in the mouth
- Dental or facial pain that cannot be controlled by pain medication
- Broken teeth that expose the nerve
- Dental trauma
- Oral or facial swelling
- Bleeding that cannot be stopped
- Providing care for patients with complex medical conditions and where not treating may lead to worsening of their general health
What should you do if you have a urgent dental problem?
Do not go to your GP or A&E department.
- Call your dentist
- If you aren't registered with a NHS dentist, contact NHS111
If you have COVID-19 it is important you inform the service when you speak to them
After contacting your dentist
Your dentist will triage you over the phone after 24 - 48 hours. You will be given advice and the dentist might decide you need a prescription for antibiotics and/or painkillers.
If in your dentist's clinical opinion you need face-to-face treatment they will ask you to contact NHS111 where a dental triage nurse will assess you.
After contacting NHS111
You will connected with a dental triage nurse. You will then go through a triage (assessment) process to determine the next step.
If you meet criteria for urgent care they will refer you to a Urgent Dental Hub.
Urgent Dental Hubs
This might take place at a location that is different to your dentist and involve you to travel further. Your nearest Urgent Dental Hub is Kingston Hospital.
How much will I be charged for this service?
There is no charge for the triage process (although if you are given a prescription, it will be subject to the normal prescription charge).
Face-to-face appointments are subject to normal NHS dental charges (from £22.70 for emergency and Band 1 treatment).
Depending on your individual circumstances you may not need to pay NHS dental charges.
Update 28th MAY
NHS England's chief dental officer, Sara Hurley, said: "Today, we are asking that all dental practices commence opening from Monday, 8 June for all face-to-face care, where practices assess that they have the necessary IPC and PPE requirements in place."
More information to follow soon.
With no routine dental care, what can I do in the meantime?
COVID-19 is going to be with us for some months, so it’s important to look after your dental health by maintaining a healthy diet and oral hygiene routine.
To help prevent dental problems, the NHS have some top tips for maintaining dental health:
- Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- The best time to brush is last thing at night, before you go to bed and in the morning
- Cut down on sugary foods and drinks- both how much you have and how often you have it
- Keep sugar consumption to mealtimes - this will reduce the time your teeth are under at risk of tooth decay
- Keep your dentures out at night and brush your dentures after meals
Have you got an experience of dental care in the Coronavirus crisis?
We would like to hear from you if you have received urgent dental care since the end of March. Share you experience, so we can support improvements in the care.
Did you know how to ask for help? How well did the process work for you? Did you get the help you needed?
020 8099 5335