Llandovery dentist issues warning over the impact of limited supplies of protective equipment

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A dentist from Llandovery has issued a stark warning over the potential impact of a shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment).

Tom Bysouth, a member of the Welsh General Dental Practice Committee, said that the current situation is putting dentists under pressure. There is a lack of supplies, for example, face masks, at emergency dental centres, and dentists are worried that they’ll be faced with a scenario where they have to choose between saving teeth and helping to saving lives. Mr Bysouth raised concerns after patients spoke about resorting to DIY measures, including one woman who had used Blu Tack to replace a filling.

Across the UK, dental practices have cancelled routine appointments and procedures that involve suction and sprays, and emergency services are providing urgent care for patients in need. The worry is that dentists don’t have access to the PPE they need, and this could result in patients losing teeth, as medical professionals in hospitals battle to fight the coronavirus. The Welsh Government said that getting PPE to dentists was a priority, but stressed that any non-essential procedures should be cancelled.

Many practices have adapted the way they work, providing advice via video and telephone calls for patients and offering online prescriptions. 

The calls from dentists have been echoed by other healthcare workers, including those in hospitals treating patients with COVID-19. Due to the unprecedented outbreak of the virus, the global demand for PPE has sky-rocketed. Health ministers have assured staff that supplies are being bolstered every day, with the army drafted in to help with logistics and distribution. 

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