Dentists describe restoration of routine dental services in Scotland as a ‘red herring’ amid ongoing restrictions

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Dentists in Scotland have described the restoration of routine dental services as a ‘red herring’ amid ongoing restrictions, which prevent NHS practices from providing aerosol treatments. 

Fountain Dental Group, which has practices in Aboyne and Banchory, suggested that the government announcement related to resuming dental services from July 13th was a ‘red herring’ and criticised Scottish ministers for suggesting that patients would be able to access a wider range of services imminently. In a letter to patients, dentists explained that NHS practices are forbidden from using instruments like drills and scalers, which means that they cannot offer patients any additional services at the moment. 

Dr Mohammed Samad, chair of the Scottish Dental Practice Owners’ group (SDPO), suggested that NHS patients are being “disadvantaged” as a result of restrictions, which apply to NHS practices, but not to private clinics. 

Dr Samad claimed that limitations on NHS practices are contributing to significant backlogs, which mean that many patients, some of whom have been suffering for weeks, are having to wait to see a dentist. Urgent hubs, which were set up during the lockdown, can only cater for those with emergency needs, and this is leaving patients who need treatment for moderate conditions and less severe symptoms without access to care. 

Dr Samad has called for ministers to review the current guidelines and to consider providing NHS dentists with fully-fitted masks to enable them to offer a more comprehensive range of services.

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