COVID-19: guidance for the public

Last updated: 31 March, 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, 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 

Dental practices began to reopen for face-to-face care from 8th June 2020 in England and 22nd June in Scotland. In Northern Ireland and Wales most practices remained open during the first lockdown period.

Since then, dental services have on the whole remained open. There are however several things patients may need to consider if they are seeking dental care or treatment:

  • Your dental practice’s priority will be to ensure safety.
  • 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.
  • Your dental team and practice will likely look different to what you are used to as PPE, social distancing and hygiene rules will be in place.
  • Your practice will likely share guidelines or rules with you before your appointment. These are designed to keep you and the dental team safe.
  • The range of treatments available to you may also be different and may vary from practice to practice.
  • Some practices are likely to be still working through the inevitable patient backlog caused by the first lockdown. This might mean that getting an appointment takes longer than you are used to.
  • In addition, the capacity of dental practices to see as many patients is likely to be lower due to COVID-19 safety measures which have been introduced. This may also contribute to longer appointment waiting times.