Are dentists open during lockdown? Can I see a dentist?

Boris Johnson announces new national lockdown

England has been plunged into another full national lockdown because of the spread of a new, mutated strain of Covid-19. While the new strain was initially gripping London and the south east, it’s rapidly spreading throughout the UK. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made announcement on Monday in which he announced the Draconian new measures to curb the spread of the virus in the coming months.

The Prime Minister said: “The number of deaths is up by 20 per cent over the last week and will sadly rise further. My thoughts are with all those who have lost loved ones. 

“With most of the country already under extreme measures, it is clear that we need to do more, together, to bring this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out.

“In England, we must therefore go into a national lockdown which is tough enough to contain this variant.

“That means the Government is once again instructing you to stay at home.

“You may only leave home for limited reasons permitted in law, such as to shop for essentials, to work if you absolutely cannot work from home, to exercise, to seek medical assistance such as getting a Covid test, or to escape domestic abuse.”

READ MORE: UK lockdown rules: What are the new lockdown restrictions in England?

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Are dentists open during lockdown?

As dentists are an essential service, they continue to be open during lockdown, so you can still go and see your dentist.

In England, dentists can see patients for both urgent and non urgent appointments, even in Tier 4.

However, if your dentist doesn’t have the right PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to hand, they can’t perform aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs), such as root canals.

Instead, your dentist should refer you to a specialised care centre if they’re unable to perform the procedure in the surgery.

In Scotland, you can see your dentist for the full range of NHS and private treatments.

If you’re in Level 4 in Scotland, dentists will prioritise emergency care above regular check-ups or non-urgent services.

That means you may have to wait to be given an appointment.

And once again, Scottish dentists won’t be able to perform AGPs without the required PPE, so you may be referred to another surgery.

Wales has dentists open across all Tiers, including the most stringent Tier 4.

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Routine appointments, however, will likely not resume until into 2021 as emergency care has taken priority throughout the pandemic.

The same limits on AGPs set out in the rest of the UK are also applicable in Wales.

The same goes for Northern Ireland, in which you can visit your dentist for all treatments.

But in line with the rest of the UK, root canals and similar procedures may be referred without the adequate protective gear.

When visiting your dentists, the same safety measures you follow outdoors should be adhered to.

This means you should always wear a face covering to your appointment, and you’re advised to arrive just on time if you don’t want to wait outside the premises.

You can’t turn up to your dentists without an appointment, so make sure you call and plan ahead before heading down to avoid disappointment.

If you have Covid symptoms, you shouldn’t go to the dentist and your clinician shouldn’t be seeing you.

But, even with Covid symptoms you can access dental treatment in an emergency situation, which is applicable across all Tiers.

If this applies to you, you should:

Call your dentist in the first instance, they will give you advice and prescribe antibiotics if necessary.

If you have a dental emergency, they will refer you to an urgent care centre, which are more specialised than a regular dentists clinic, and the healthcare workers will have the appropriate PPE to treat Covid patients.

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