During the lockdown, all routine face-to-face dental services were suspended because of the COVID-19 emergency. And, although dentists may be able to reopen in June, it is currently unclear if a full service will be available immediately. But looking after your teeth is still very important, so what help is available?
Registered with a dentist
If you are registered with a dentist, they may be closed but could still be taking urgent cases and can offer appropriate advice and guidance. So, if you have an urgent dental problem, call your dentist first.
Your dentist may advise that you require a face-to-face clinical appointment, in which case they will ask you to call NHS 111 who will then refer you for further telephone assessment by the dental nurse triage service.
Not registered with a dentist
If you are not registered with a dentist you can find a local dentist who may be able to offer advice and information. But if you think you are in need of urgent dental care call NHS 111 for assessment by the dental nurse triage service.
If it is needed, the dental nurse triage service will put you in touch with the appropriate local urgent dental care hub for treatment.
It is important to seek dental advice even if you have, or think you may have, COVID-19 symptoms. Tell your dentist or NHS 111 when you speak to them of your symptoms so they are aware and can advise you appropriately.
You may require urgent dental care for many reasons, including:
• Dental infections or infections in the mouth
• Dental or facial pain that cannot be controlled by pain medication
• Broken teeth that expose the nerve
• Oral or facial swelling
• Bleeding that cannot be stopped.
Councillor Binda Rai, Ealing Council’s cabinet member for adult services and public health, said: “Healthy gums and teeth are so important to our overall health and mental health. If you are experiencing any pain or concerns about your teeth I urge you to seek medical advice as soon as possible.
“Although we’ve not been able to share our smiles in person with others, let’s keep those smiles intact by looking after our teeth, and look forward to when we can share those smiles again.”
It is important to look after your dental health by maintaining a healthy diet and good oral hygiene. To help prevent dental problems, here are some top tips:
• Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
• The best time to brush is before you go to bed and first thing in the morning
• Cut down on sugary foods and drinks
• Keep your sugar intake to mealtimes – this will reduce the time your teeth are at risk of decay
• If you have dentures remember to take them out at night and brush after meals.
Remember, the NHS is still open for business – if you have an urgent dental need call your dentist first and failing that call NHS 111.