The NHS has opened Urgent Dental Care (UDC) hubs across England to help people with emergency dental problems.
A total of 32 locations have been chosen in the East of England to cover the dentistry needs of the region as best as possible, including Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes.
While over in the South of England 36 urgent dental care hubs, in Reading, Southampton, Guildford, Canterbury, Portsmouth and Basingstoke, to name a few.
How can I receive urgent dental care?
If you need urgent or emergency dental care, you should first attempt to call your regular practice.
If you cannot get in touch with your dentist, or if you do not have one, you should use the NHS 111 online service available here.
An assessment will be carried out over the phone. If you require urgent treatment, an appointment will be made for you at one of the treatment hubs.
If you have a dental emergency, you must not attend any clinics before being assessed over the phone, or before you have been given an appointment slot at one of the UDCs. This system is in place to help manage the numbers of patients visiting the centres, in order for social distancing measures to be maintained.
The precise locations of each UDC will not be published by the NHS, to prevent unwanted drop-ins.
What safety measures are in place at the clinics?
Dentists are wearing full personal protection equipment (PPE), while the hubs will also use appropriate separation measures to treat patients in a manner that adheres to social distancing practices.
Local Dental Network Chairs Tom Norfolk and Nick Barker, said, “With dental practices now shut, these centres provide urgent dental treatment for those people that need it.
“We continue to review and develop our regional operational procedures to support dentists and ensure patients receive the most safe and appropriate urgent dental care, working with partners to ensure a system-wide collaborative approach.”
Rachel Webb, director of primary care and public health for NHS England and NHS Improvement in the East of England, said:
“Each hub has been designed to meet the needs of people who are possible or confirmed COVID-19 patients, those who are shielded, those who are vulnerable or those who do not fit into those categories.”
Speaking about their experience using the service, patients who attended a hub in Milton Keynes said, “I felt very safe and at ease there,”
While another thanked the service, saying, “We are living through challenging times and I really do appreciate all that you have done for me. I am feeling so much better for having that troublesome tooth extracted.”