NHS statistics show a decrease of over 140,000 filling procedures in Northern Ireland during lockdown

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NHS statistics show that dentists in Northern Ireland carried out 144,000 fewer filling procedures during lockdown. 

The subsidy for general dental services, which is provided to keep dental services running, increased by approximately £1 million per month compared to 2019. 

When the outbreak struck, high street dental practices were ordered to close, with a network of urgent care hubs established to provide care for patients with dental emergencies. For several weeks between the end of March and June, services were suspended. Now, dental practices have been up and running for weeks, but there are strict regulations in place to keep patients and staff safe. Patient numbers are limited, additional PPE is required, and most practices are offering a streamlined list of services and prioritising urgent cases. 

Despite the increased dental viability subsidies, dentists across Northern Ireland are anxious about the future. Incomes have plummeted, backlogs are growing, and running costs have spiralled due to inflated PPE prices. Northern Ireland director of the British Dental Association, Tristen Kelso, has appealed for urgent support to prevent practices from going under. One of the measures put forward by dental professionals is increased government  financial support for PPE provision. The cost of PPE has soared due to unprecedented global demand for masks, gloves, gowns and visors.

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