Dentists in Scotland to resume aerosol-generating procedures

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Dentists in Scotland have been given the green light to provide a wider range of treatments, including aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs).

From Monday 17th August, dental practices in Scotland will be allowed to offer patients treatments that involve using utensils like drills as part of the next phase of lockdown easing. For most patients, the only way to access these procedures has been through urgent care hubs, which were set up during the lockdown to ensure patients had access to emergency services while high street clinics were closed.

Despite the move being a positive step, dentists have reminded patients that it could be some time before life at the dental practice returns to ‘normal.’ Laura Milby, NHS Lanarkshire’s Clinical Director of General Dental Services, said that the latest move is a step in the right direction, but stressed that the service wouldn’t be the same as it was pre-lockdown. Practices will still be prioritising patients with urgent needs and access to AGPs will be limited due to the elevated risks they pose, and the additional decontamination measures required. 

Ms Milby confirmed that some practices wouldn’t be offering AGPs yet and suggested that services could be reopened gradually. The good news for patients who do need urgent care is that they will be able to access treatment at their local surgery, rather than having to visit an urgent care centre. This will be a source of comfort and reassurance for those who are nervous about going to the dentist, and it could also save time and money for those who don’t live close to an emergency hub.

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