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New guidance recommends remote dental consultations wherever possible

16 Apr 2020

Guidance for the dental profession during COVID-19, published last night by NHS England, should offer ‘welcome reassurance to patients and professionals alike’, according to Professor Michael Escudier, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.


The documents set out clear guidelines for dentists and patients on the delivery of urgent and emergency dental care during this period.


In line with the current social distancing policy it recommends that all patients undergo remote consultations wherever possible. Any patient requesting urgent care should first be triaged by telephone to assess their clinical urgency, establish their COVID-19 risk, offer any interim self-care advice and make an appointment, for face to face assessment and any necessary treatment, if required.


The guidance provides assurance that those in severe pain will receive treatment at urgent dental care centres, even though routine consultations and dental surgery have been suspended while COVID-19 is still spreading.


Commenting, Professor Michael Escudier said:


“This essential guidance provides a much needed framework for the delivery of dental care during this period and incorporates guidance drawn from a broad range of national organisations. Its message is clear: crucial dental care must continue whilst protecting dental professionals and patients.


“Critical to that effort is the ongoing availability of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which the Royal College of Surgeons of England has been at the forefront of calling for. Health care workers need protection so they can protect patients.


“The advent of remote consultations is welcome, meaning that patients can get a clinical opinion quickly in their own homes, without risk of exposure to COVID-19. We will often be able to provide treatment – especially to relieve pain or fight oral infections – to stabilise a patient’s condition during the crisis.


“Anyone in pain should call NHS 111, to access the professional support they need.”

Notes to editors

The guidance published last night by NHS England has drawn on the work of several organisations including the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

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