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Dentists to reopen should safety standards be met

Island practices working with DHSC to meet guidelines

Dental practices across the Island have been given the green light to start treating patients again, providing they meet the neccessary health and safety guidelines.

Practices were closed under Emergency Powers in late March, as dentistry is a high risk area for potential Covid-19 transmission due to the aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) involved in most forms of treatment.

Meanwhile, an emergency dental service has offered advice, pain relief and antibiotics to all Island residents.

This service was extended last month to include an emergency treatment where AGPs such as root canals were made available.

NHS dentists from multiple practices worked as a team, on a rota basis, to maintain the service.

Guidelines for reopening include: training in the correct use of PPE, protocols for hygiene and decontamination, and social distancing.

Practices are also told to carry out a Covid-19 assessment on each patient who contacts the surgery, triage patients over the telephone, and conduct remote consultations where appropriate.
 
An assessment team comprising a dentist, a member of Department of Health and Social Care’s Infection Prevention and Control team and a Primary Care officer will visit each surgery to ensure the agreed process towards reopening has been followed and standards met.

Government says it's expected all dental practices in the Island, including those offering orthodontic services, will be open by mid-June; and dentists will retain clinical autonomy in deciding which procedures are essential for their patients.

While the reopening of dentistry allows for treatments to be carried out, it does not presently cover routine check-ups, which will follow in due course.

Patients who call the NHS emergency dental treatment service will be asked to contact their surgery if it has reopened, while some dentists may directly contact their patients to let them know.
 
The DHSC’s advice and emergency treatment services will remain open to all Island residents for the time being and appointments can be made by calling 642785.

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