NHS dentistry in Scotland fully resumed on the 1 November, but officials warned of a limited availability of appointments.
They point to the increased strict hygiene measures dental practices adopt as the reason for a drop in appointments.
Dentists will also have to prioritise those who require emergency care.
‘It is very important for patients to be aware that the services will not yet return to “business as usual” due to the continuing COVID-19 safety measures that need to be taken in practices,’ NHS Tayside director of dentistry, Morag Curnow, said to the BBC.
‘The number of available appointments will reduce. It is necessary for dental practices to prioritise appointments. Particularly for patients who require urgent dental care, those at greatest risk of oral disease and those patients who could not be seen during the lockdown period.
‘Practices will also look very different due to the public health measures in place to keep staff and patients safe.
‘Waiting rooms may be closed and dental teams will wear suitable personal protective equipment.’
Final reopening phase
This is the final part of a phased reopening of dental practices across Scotland, announced earlier this year.
Despite reopening, dental practices would still need to limit the number of patients they see, Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick highlighted.
However, with the full range of treatments available to clinicians, patients can access a wider range of NHS care.
‘We stand ready to continue working constructively with the sector to help facilitate this remobilisation,’ Mr FitzPatrick said when he announced the reopening of dentistry.
‘I would like to thank the sector for their efforts in providing safe care to patients. ‘I’m sure they stand ready to continue to provide the best care as we navigate the coming months together.’