CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Toothache patients struggling after dentists move to emergency treatment only

British Dental Association has advised dentists to shut their doors to stop spread of coronavirus

23 March, 2020 — By Tom Foot

Protective equipment shortage blamed for closures 

TOOTHACHE victims are facing an anxious wait for treatment after dentists across Camden shut to stop the spread of coronavirus.

British Dental Association has advised clinics to stay open for advice and emergency treatment partly due to a shortage of protective equipment.

Dentists have been told the must wear full face shields, masks and goggles while working patients and to “avoid aerosol generating procedures wherever possible”. Routine work on “vulnerable groups” has, in turn, been restricted to protect staff from infection.

Dennis McNulty, who lives in Hampstead, said he spent two hours on the phone to 111 today (Monday) trying to help his son who has toothache.

He said: “After I finally got through, they told us we had to go private so we went down to a dentist in Cricklewood. They told us there was nothing wrong with him and he should go to hospital. That’s crazy because it’s just adding to the burden of the NHS.”

He added: “He’s in a lot of pain but we can’t find a dentist that will see him. What are we supposed to do wait for 12 weeks? He’s in pain. We don’t know whether to just yank the tooth out.”

Dentists are self-employed but are paid by the Government to treat patients at NHS rates.

A BDA statement said: “As things stand, the chance of advanced PPE equipment, protocols and training being widely available to avoid this seems unlikely, with resources appropriately being directed to intensive care.”

“We recommend that practices cease routine dentistry and operate an advice and emergency service only.”

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