How will dentist appointments change?

Photo credit: svetikd - Getty Images
By Netdoctor
Since March 23, the day Britain was banned to curb the spread of the coronavirus, routine dental treatments have been suspended. In England, dentists were allowed to reopen from June 8th if they took appropriate safety measures. However, a survey found that only a third of dental practices felt ready to open, with the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) cited as a major concern.
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Here's everything you need to know when dentists in the UK reopen.
When will dentists reopen in the UK?
Dental practices in England were allowed to reopen from June 8th. However, according to a BDA survey of more than 2,000 operations, only 36 percent felt ready to open by that date because no PSAs were available.
Patients with dental emergencies who cannot use their usual dental practice should call NHS 111 and will be directed to an urgent dental center if necessary.
Dental services are expected to resume in Scotland at the end of June. A date for reopening is slated to be confirmed after the Scottish government's next three-week review of blocking restrictions on June 18.
Northern Ireland
A three-phase return for dental services is ongoing in Northern Ireland. From June 8, the practices were allowed to return to personal emergency care. However, dentists are only allowed to offer non-urgent care in the second phase. No date has been set for the start of the second phase.
Dental services in Wales are gradually returning. As of July 1st, dentists will be able to offer more treatments in the practice, and the criteria for urgent care will be relaxed. However, routine dental appointments are not expected to be resumed until October.
How will the visit to the dentist change?
While dental practices were reopened in England from June 8th, this is anything but “business as usual” for dentistry. More than 60 percent of dental offices estimate that they can treat less than a quarter of the patient numbers that they saw before COVID-19, and barely 15 percent feel able to offer a wide range of treatments.
As of June 15, the NHS England guidelines stipulated that dental offices are required to ensure that staff wear a surgical mask when not in PSA to reduce the risk of transmission.
BDA chairman Mik Armstrong described the current state of dentistry as a "skeletal service". "These reopened practices are now associated with fewer patients, higher costs, and will have difficulty meeting demand," said Armstrong.
What do dental appointments look like?
The NHS has established measures that dentists should consider before reopening:
• Limitation of the use of waiting areas
• Establishment of individual entry and exit points for patients
• Make sure that hand disinfectants are available
• Waiting room chairs must be 2 m apart
• Daily screening of employees
• Installation of physical barriers
How can I make an appointment with a dentist?
Appointments are made by phone or only online. When you call to make an appointment, you will be asked some screening questions. The same questions will be asked again at your appointment.
However, since the practices manage appointments to allow social distance between patients, there may be fewer options for scheduling your appointment.
Photo credit: PIKSEL - Getty Images
How to take care of your teeth at home
Just because you distance yourself socially from your dentist doesn't mean that your oral health has to suffer. We have with the leading London dentist Dr. Richard Marques talked about how to take care of your teeth and oral health during coronavirus locking.
The best thing you can do to avoid visiting the dentist is to maintain a good oral health routine. Here are some general tips:
• Brush for two to three minutes twice a day, morning and evening. The more and you can remove the teeth, the less teeth and gums can suffer.
• Don't forget to floss. Make sure you floss between your teeth at least once a day with dental floss, interdental brushes, or an electric air or water bottle.
• Rinse your mouth with an alcohol-free mouthwash to kill bacteria that your toothbrush may have missed. Use it after brushing and whenever you need a quick refresh.
• Chew on sugar-free chewing gum to refresh your breath quickly. Just be careful not to use it instead of brushing or rinsing, as it doesn't eliminate odor-causing bacteria.
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• Don't forget your tongue. Use your toothbrush or tongue scraper daily to remove any remaining bacteria and food particles and keep your mouth clean and your breath fresh.
• Take Co Enzyme Q10, a vital molecule that every dentist prefers for general gum health. It is very difficult to get enough of it through diet alone. I therefore recommend taking supplements to increase your intake.
• Avoid foods and drinks containing sugar. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar and turn it into acid that can lead to tooth decay. So it's best to avoid things like candy and carbonated drinks.
• You are what you eat. So make sure your diet contains lots of greens like spinach and kale that are high in antioxidants, and vitamins like vitamin K, which is an important nutrient for a healthy mouth.
How do I get an emergency dentist appointment?
First of all, it is important to understand whether it is an emergency or not.
Problems such as a lost filling, dull toothache, slight sensitivity or a small tooth gap can be treated later. Examples of more serious problems that would constitute an emergency are:
• Gums that don't stop bleeding
• Extreme tooth sensitivity or toothache that causes constant pain
• A knocked out / serrated tooth
• Swollen cheeks / gums and general extreme pain from swelling or possible infection
If you have any of the above problems, call your dentist first because they may have set up a hotline to provide advice. If symptoms persist, call NHS Help at 111. If the situation is serious, you may need to go to A&E - but especially at this point, you should only do so if it is 100 percent required and recommended by a doctor. Try to stay calm, as stress causes the body to respond so that symptoms worsen.

Here are some things you can do at home to improve the situation:
• If your teeth are knocked out, put them in a glass of milk until they can be treated (the milk helps maintain an acid-alkali ratio, which means that the tooth does not swell).
• Take acetaminophen (or ibuprofen if it is safe) to relieve the immediate pain
• Hold an ice pack (or a pack of frozen vegetables) in swollen areas
• Dissolve the salt in warm water and swirl it around your mouth for 60 seconds to remove bacteria and eliminate infections
• Dab a small amount of clove oil on the affected area to relieve the pain
Last update: 17-06-2020
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