Dental care in the time of Covid-19
Our guest blogger for this month is Dr Michael Wieder, the principal of Maldent Dental Practice in Malden Road, Kentish Town. He has been a Camden dentist for over 30 years at the practice and serves as the Vice-Chair of the Camden & Islington Local Dental Committee.
Over the past few months our lives have changed dramatically, and all of us are trying to adjust to the new circumstances. In the current Covid-19 situation, with the country in lockdown, and many people shielding or self-isolating, access to health services including dental treatment is challenging to say the least. And it is with the heavy heart that dental practices across Camden closed their doors and stopped taking bookings. The current restrictions have been put in place to stop the spread of the pandemic and to protect all of our patients, their families and dental practice teams.
I fully appreciate how anxious our patients may be, with ongoing treatment plans disrupted and routine check-ups cancelled. I understand that is very frustrating not to know when the situation will change and when dentists will resume taking appointments. Let me assure you that we monitor the situation closely and dental practices will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, here’s what you can do to safely access urgent dental services during the lockdown.
Although dental practices are closed for face-to-face treatment, all should be providing a telephone service, where patients can receive advice, analgesia and antibiotic prescriptions. If these are not sufficient, your dentist will direct you to call NHS 111 where you will be directed to the Dental Nurse Triage which specialises in dental issues. After the Dental Nurse Triage you may be given an appointment at one of the 30 official Urgent Dental Care Centres in London.
If you don’t have a regular dentist then you can go to http://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-dentist to find a local dentist who may be able to offer you information and advice. If you don’t have a dentist and think you need urgent dental care please call NHS 111. The following dental conditions may require urgent dental care: 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.
If you need urgent dental care and you have Covid-19 or think you might have it, please call your dentist to discuss what help you might need. Your dentist will assess you and give you advice and information on how to manage the condition yourself. This may include a prescription for appropriate medication such as analgesics or antibiotics. If you cannot contact your dentist and your dental problem is urgent, call NHS 111. The most up-to-date official information on Covid-19 and access to health services can be found here and here.
Dental practices are looking forward to welcoming our patients back and serving our communities with the full set of services. In the meantime, here are some tips for oral health to help prevent dental problems from happening during the lockdown.
- Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- The best time is to brush is last thing at night, before you go to bed and in the morning
- Cut down on how much sugar you have and how often you have it
- Keep sugar consumption to mealtimes
- Use interdental brushes or floss to clean in between the teeth
- Keep your dentures out at night and brush your dentures after meals
Remember, taking good care of your mouth is the best way to try and avoid dental problems. Stay at home, stay safe and we look forward to seeing you when the Covid-19 crisis is behind us.
If you have accessed dental care during the Covid-19 crisis, please contact us and share your experience.