Norfolk dental practices close registers, as dentists attempt to clear lockdown backlogs

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A number of dental practices in Norfolk have closed their registers, as dentists battle to clear backlogs caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.

Dental clinics in England have been able to welcome patients back since the 8th June, but many are seeing urgent patients and rearranging appointments that were cancelled during the lockdown. According to the NHS website, there are currently only two practices accepting new patients, and some practices have urged patients not to call at the moment unless they need emergency dental care.

The vast majority of dental surgeries were closed between the 23rd March and the 8th June, meaning that dentists are dealing with significant backlogs. Ordinarily, practices treat several patients every hour, and it is understandable that teams are keen to help those who had treatment scheduled and patients who had started courses of treatment before lockdown measures were introduced before they offer routine appointments.

Although it may not be easy to get an appointment at a local dental practice in Norfolk at the moment, representatives from Norfolk’s Healthwatch group have insisted that urgent care is available for those who need to see a dentist. Urgent dental services are on offer for patients who cannot get an appointment with their regular dentist, as well as those who are not currently registered. There are 10 emergency dental hubs operating across the county and patients can be referred by their regular dentist or via NHS 111. 

At the moment, patient numbers are still limited at high street practices, and it may be some time before surgeries at running at full capacity.

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