York dentist warns of huge backlogs following lockdown

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The British Dental Association’s representative for York, Mark Green, has warned that it could take months, even years, to clear the backlog of patients created by the Coronavirus lockdown.

Mr Green suggested that there is already a lengthy waiting list for patients who need treatment. These are people who require treatment, but aren’t in need of the urgent services provided by local dental hubs set up to deliver emergency care during the lockdown. A shortage of PPE and risks associated with AGPs (aerosol-generating procedures) has contributed to delays.

Mr Green suggested that dental professionals had faced a series of obstacles and challenges related to PPE, with global demand soaring, prices rocketing and the risk of ordering counterfeit items. The fit of masks has also been an issue, as it’s vital to ensure that every dentist has access to well-fitting masks that will protect them when in close proximity to patients. Another barrier is the time it takes for aerosols to settle, which has implications for patient numbers. 

Vicky Poyner, from Hopkins and Poyner, York, explained that the working day is very different because the staff team is having to wait an hour after administering AGPs to treat the next patient. The priority is tackling urgent cases, and with numbers restricted, patients are not currently able to access routine services, for example, check-ups. 

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