Helping patients to understand why face masks and social distancing is still in place at the dentist

19 July, 2021 by John Cullinane

In light of the lifting of broad COVID-19 restrictions in England today (19 July), we have updated our patient guidance about what to expect when visiting the dentist. Sharing this with your patients could help manage their expectations.

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, and for good reason. Everyone needs to be able to access dental treatment, including those who are clinically vulnerable, and members of the dental team of course need to be able to protect themselves too, not least to ensure they can stay open and continue providing the vital services to their patients that they do. 

With restrictions lifting in England, different rules in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and a range of recommendations relating to other settings, there is potential for confusion or a mismatch between what patients might expect when visiting the dentist and the reality they will face.

We know from our COVID-19 research that patients have really appreciated direct communications from their dental team to keep them informed about how to access services and what to expect. If you have not done so already, reaching out proactively to your patients will help you to manage their expectations, keep your practice safe and maintain good relationships.

These remain very challenging times and for our part we continue to be guided by two main principles when developing our approach: to minimise the regulatory burden wherever possible and to maximise flexibility for dental professionals to appropriately manage their professional activities.

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