Close

COVID-19: guidance for the public

Last updated: 29 July, 2021

If you have an urgent dental care need, or need advice about your personal oral health needs, you should contact your dental practice in the first instance.

If you are not registered with a dental practice and you are unable to find one taking on new patients, guidance is being provided by the NHS in EnglandScotlandWales and Northern Ireland.

If you do not have access to the internet, you can call NHS 111.

Access to Dental Care 

While access to many dental services in the UK was interrupted earlier in the pandemic, on the whole practices have remained open since summer 2020. While the pandemic continues, your experience when visiting the dentist is likely to be different to that prior to COVID-19.

There are several things you will need to consider when seeking dental care or treatment:

  • Infection prevention and control measures – such as social distancing and wearing a face covering - are staying in place for all healthcare settings across the UK. This includes dental practices.
  • This is to ensure that everyone, including those who are clinically vulnerable, can access dental treatment. It is also to protect members of the dental team, not least so practices can stay open and continue providing vital services. 
  • Your dental team’s priority will be to ensure safety so please do listen to them and follow their instructions.
  • You should continue to telephone or email your practice, rather than attending in person without an appointment. Some aspects of your care may also need to take place remotely, either by phone or video call.
  • If you need urgent treatment, speak to your dental team in the first instance. If they are unable to see you quickly, they should be able to provide guidance on where you can seek urgent treatment.
  • If you are not registered with a dental practice and you are unable to find one taking on new patients, guidance is being provided by the NHS in EnglandScotlandWales and Northern Ireland.
  • If you do not have access to the internet, you can call NHS 111.
  • Interruptions to dental services earlier in the pandemic have caused a patient backlog in many areas. While dental practices are working hard to catch up, this will take some time to address.

Vaccination

Will my dental professional be vaccinated?

Dental professionals are encouraged to be vaccinated. However, just like members of the public, some dental professionals have legitimate reasons not to be vaccinated. When this happens, dental professionals are expected to follow relevant clinical guidance to protect patients, themselves and colleagues.

How are vaccines approved and monitored?

The Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), like the GDC, is an independent regulator established in law to protect the public from harm from medicines (including vaccines) and medical devices. The MHRA has approved all vaccines in use in the UK.

The MHRA publishes information about the vaccines it has approved. Further information about the safety of vaccines is published by The World Health Organisation (WHO) and The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises UK health Departments on immunisation. More information can be accessed from the following websites: 

All medicines (including vaccines) are subject to rigorous regulation, down to controls over individual batches of vaccines as they are made (wherever in the world that happens to be). There are monitoring systems in place that provide rapid alerts to all health professionals working with medicines if concerns arise about a particular medicine. The JCVI has provided further information on vaccines and vaccinations procedures.