dental practices answering phone callsDental practices across Scotland are experiencing an ‘upsurge’ in patients contacting them as the COVID-19 lockdown eases.

Tom Ferris, Scotland CDO, last week announced the resumption of non-aerosol routine care from the 13 July. In addition, NHS Scotland says it will begin work to safely return aerosol generating procedures to dental practices.

Following the announcement, patients across Scotland are booking up dental appointments. With Aberdeen-based Andrew Scott telling the Evening Express that he is experiencing an ‘upsurge’ in patients contacting the practice with oral health problems.

‘Dentists know these patients well and it is in my nature to help them,’ he said. ‘It is quite distressing to know they have been struggling.

‘Without the use of drills, we are quite limited in what we can do.

‘We have a protocol where we have one patient at a time. The door is locked and we ask patients to wait outside or in the car. We give them masks to wear, sanitise their hands and take their temperature once inside.’

Demand for dental care

Dentistry in Scotland shut in March leaving dental teams triaging any patient issues over the phone.

In early June, Tom Ferris, CDO for Scotland, announced a phased return back. As part of the return NHS Scotland claims dentists have received all the necessary PPE to carry procedures out.

But dentists are expecting huge demand from patients in pain and unable to access care for the last three months.

‘We’ve had about 18 to 20 patients phoning up every day wanting to come in. But we can’t see them because we are only allowed to do certain treatments,’ Saghir Ahmed, practice manager at West End Dental, says.

‘We’ve had a lot of patients needing urgent treatment like extractions.’