For details on Coranavirus/Covid 19, please read the news section for latest updates on the practice.
There are now more than 160 centres running in England at the moment, offering some care for urgent dental treatment. This equates to a maximum of only 1300 patient visits a day, and are only for the most urgent dental cases, where antibiotics, analgesics and advice are no longer enough, or are not working. This means it is only for people with severe pulpitis, where the nerve of the tooth is damaged by decay or trauma and exposed, severe uncontrolled bleeding, teeth loosened by trauma or knocked out and in need of urgent assessment. This is not a complete list, but they are not intended for routine dentistry, replacement of lost fillings, crowns that have fallen out or similar.
In all cases, you would need to access the service via your dentist, in this case, me. I would triage you, and try and deal with your problem initially by advice, analgesia or antibiotics to resolve the problem until such time as surgeries can open again. Only if this is not possible, would I be allowed to try onward referral to a centre. I do not know where they are, and would only find out on referral. Referral is via DERS,(Dental Electronic Referral System), and I would be put in touch with the nearest centre for the patient. I would have to provide as much relevant information as I can about the problem first. A dentist at the centre would then ring you, and then Triage you again, to see if you fit in with the protocols for the centre given by Public Health England. This is to see if you require their help and couldn`t be helped by other means, and that they can do something meaningful to help you. It is perfectly possible they could refuse to see you, even though I have referred you in good faith. You would be given an appointment at that centre, and only then told the address. This is to avoid patients just turning up for problems that don`t need their help, and putting unnecessary pressure on the system.
It is possible as well, that if that centre runs out of personal protective equipment, you would be contacted and asked to go to another centre further away, that still has PPE and is running normally. If you are shielding or vulnerable, there are centres especially set up to protect you, and if you have Covid 19 or are suspected of having it, there are dedicated centres for you as well, to try and keep people apart and avoid infection
This system is by no means ideal, but hopefully more centres will come on line and ease the situation until normal dental practices can work again. Please be patient, and remember I am here 9am to 5pm every day, even if all you need is advice for something that is worrying you, or on your mind. 07551 182937