Dental care remains an essential service as designated by the Government and therefore dental clinics will remain open to provide care during the current Level 5 restrictions.
Patients and staff are entitled to travel more than 5km from home to see the dentist / attend for duty.
For dental practices, it remains vitally important to undertake risk assessments and to comply with the guidance which has been issued by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre – its recently updated guidance can be viewed here.
Dentists should also be advised that the Dental Council has decided (October 15th 2020) to withdraw its interim sentence inserted in April 2020 at the bottom of Section 126.96.36.199 of its Code of Practice regarding Infection Prevention and Control. This sentence recommended using FFP2 masks when performing aerosol generating procedures and this recommendation is now deleted from the Code. This section now reads:
'The use of PPE must be guided by risk assessment. It must be used to protect DHCWs from exposure to or contact with infections or potentially infectious microorganisms. Items of PPE include gloves, gowns, face masks, goggles and face shields. These must not be worn outside the area in which they are used. Hand hygiene must be carried out after removal and appropriate disposal of PPE. Most PPE items are regarded as single use (but refer to the manufacturer’s instructions).'
The Dental Council also advises dentists that “Your professional judgement remains key and you should continue to follow your professional judgement and assess risks when deciding on the best care for your patients.”
For patients, we wish to reiterate that dentists have proven that they can practice in a safe manner since the emergence of Covid-19, and they will continue to risk-assess each patient to ensure safety guidelines are maintained. Oral health is an essential part of a person’s overall health, and attendance at your dentist should not be deferred.