An emergency dental service has expanded its provision for Island patients as measures to limit the spread of coronavirus are gradually eased.
Dentistry poses a particular risk for infection transmission as many standard procedures are aerosol generating - the medical term for the production of respiratory droplets during treatment.
All dental practices were closed on 24 March 2020 and an emergency service was set up by the Department of Health and Social Care at the Central Community Health Centre (CCHC) in Douglas. This service offered advice, analgesia and antibiotics to those with tooth pain, but for a time, only non-aerosol generating procedures were undertaken, including extractions.
After a review and taking into account the risks involved, the service has been expanded to offer emergency dental treatments, including fillings and other aerosol generating procedures. This is being provided by NHS dentists from local practices and the DHSC’s Community Dental Service on a rota basis and operates from the CCHC. Appointments must be made in advance by phoning 642785 as there is no drop-in service.
The advisory service continues as before, and has moved to Hillside Dental Clinic at the back of the Old Noble’s building. The phone number continues to be 642785.
The Department has been in regular consultation with the dental profession during the pandemic and thanks the practices for their cooperation and assistance throughout a difficult period and for enabling an extension to current emergency provision for patients.
Dentists and staff at the two services have been provided with the personal protective equipment they require.
Dental practices, both those with NHS contracts and private practices, are still not permitted to open at this time in line with Departmental guidance. The Department and the profession will continue to work together to plan the next stages of opening dentistry further.