Scottish dentists prepare patients for a different type of appointment

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Now that dental practices have been given the green light to reopen in Scotland, dentists are preparing patients for a different type of appointment. 

Clinics have been closed across Scotland for the last three months, but many are now reopening to offer services to local patients. Although appointments will now be available, patients have been warned that it could be a long time before routine services are restored. Most practices will be limiting patient numbers and focusing on urgent care.

Laura Milby, clinical director at General Dental Services, said that patients will encounter a very different surgery when they return, but stressed that patients shouldn’t be worried or scared to go to the dentist. Practices have implemented additional safety and hygiene measures, and most are running a small selection of services. AGPs, aerosol-generating procedures, will continue to be administered by dentists based at local urgent dental centres. These services pose a greater risk to staff and patients as they produce and spread droplets. 

Dental practices across the UK are now adopting a ‘new normal’ and most are providing a set number of appointments per day, with patients completing risk assessments in advance and surgery doors remaining closed to anyone who doesn’t have a pre-booked appointment. Clinics are also deep-cleaning after each patient and social distancing measures are in place. 

Patients who are hoping to book an appointment are advised to contact their local practice, but dentists are keen to urge those who don’t need urgent treatment to bide their time. NHS 111 will continue to provide advice and support for those who are not registered with a dental practice.

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