An urgent dental care centre has been set up in Ramsgate to deal with vital treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.
The centre is one of 36 across the south east – with two more due to open.
All non-urgent dental activity has stopped in line with the social distancing restrictions brought in by the government on March 23.
The centres have been introduced via NHS England South East and NHS Improvement (NHSE/I) which says in a briefing they are to meet urgent dental care needs for:
- Those who are possible or confirmed COVID-19 patients – including patients with symptoms, or those living in their household
- Those who are ‘shielded’, as being at most-significant risk from COVID-19
- Those who are vulnerable/at increased risk from COVID-19
- Any other people who do not fit one of the above categories
The urgent dental care hubs allow separation and treatment of patients after they have been referred by a dentist – either their own or from another local dental practice which is still be providing phone advice.
Each patient will then be triaged by the urgent dental care hub. Patients will be assessed on whether they need urgent treatment which cannot wait. Where patients are at risk or shielded, they will be seen in appropriate settings.
The NHSE/I briefing says: “Where possible and safe, patients may be able to manage the dental problem themselves through taking painkillers or prescribed antibiotics to treat any dental infection. Face to face treatment is available when clinically required.
“Drop-ins to urgent dental care hubs are not allowed given the need to protect patient and staff safety.”
The opening of hubs has been contingent on securing personal protective equipment (PPE) for all staff members.
The precise locations have not been revealed as access is by appointment only. Anyone with an urgent or emergency dental condition should first contact a dental practice for a telephone assessment.
Dental practices can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs- services/dentists/
County councillor Karen Constantine, who received details as part of her role on the authority’s health scrutiny panel, said: “Whilst I welcome this much needed service, and agree that our most vulnerable residents need priority, I would urge caution as those who do not fit into a category may have conditions and possible infections which warrant prompt treatment. People shouldn’t put off contacting their dentist for treatment.”
Three cheers! At last someone has seen sense, that closing ALL dental surgeries country wide at the start of the coronavirus emergency left many people facing weeks, even months in extreme agony! There is never a good time to have toothache, but I did a week into the lockdown! My usual dentist said she could do nothing, only advise painkillers, or if I had an abscess, anti-biotics! That was the same message from NHS 111, and later NHS Kent Dental Line, and my GP said as it was a dental problem, they couldn’t prescribe stronger pain killers. Craig Mackinlay emailed to say he could only follow the government guidelines, Duurh!
Facing weeks, or months of agonising pain, unable to sleep, or eat solids, I contacted the Care Quality Commission, and much to my surprise a lady phoned me the next day! She agreed that leaving people in extreme agonising pain was totally unacceptable, and she promised to do something about it! Later, the lady from Kent NHS Dental Line, said she would try and get me an emergency appointment, but in the event I did find a Dentist who was willing to open, and who extracted two teeth! Had he not done this, I could have become suicidal after several weeks! What idiot advised the government to close down every dental practice in the land? I am advised it was the head of their professional dental body, again Duurh!
In common with many of the actions taken by the authorities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the decision to close all dental surgeries was a knee-jerk, one-size-fits-all solution.
I’m glad someone has seen sense.
I’ve been ok so far, but my teeth have never been so clean!
Hi. I am soooo glad you left this comment as I am in the exact same situation as you. I am in need of 2 teeth taken out due due having the nerves exposed on both teeth! I have phoned everyone included local dentists an have been told I have to suffer till this is over. By any chance could you please inform me of which dentist was willing to open for you please. I’m at my wits end with this pain. Thank you
Hello Louise, I am very reluctant to give you the name, and contact details of the Dentist who helped me, as he did this in disregard of the Government ruling! However, in the piece about this (many thanks Kathy!) it does say 36 practices in the South East (One in Ramsgate) will deal with emergencies, but only by appointment!
I would start with your own dentist if you have one, if not try the NHS Kent Dental Line on 01634 890300. You may get the runaround, I did, spending an hour and twenty minutes on the phone before someone answered! Eventually a “Melissa Costa” who may be your best bet, phoned and said she was the Assistant Clinical Director of the Kent Community Dental Line contacted me, and was very sympathetic, and helpful! I have a note saying her number is 0300 123 4412, email: email@example.com
Melissa did get back to me saying she could get me an appointment, but it was in Maidstone! I said I live in Ramsgate, and do not have any transport, so how will I get there? In the event, before she got back to me, I managed to have the teeth extracted anyway! I hope this is helpful, Oh, by the way my dentist emailed me to say all dental practices were closed down on the advice of the Chief Dental Officer, England, Duurh!
hello could u please help me..my dentist is still in Medway where i moved from..as we are not allowed to travel i am nearly 75….i was due to have tooth out just before this virus happened..it is an emergency my dentist said, i had bad abcess then…can someone please tell me where there is dentist open please i live in margate.
Hi Sandie, the NHS page says
Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), all routine dental treatment has been stopped at the moment.
If you think you need urgent dental treatment:
call your dentist
use the NHS 111 online service if you cannot contact your dentist or you do not have one
Sandy see my posting above for email address to contact, or try Kent Dental Line Service 01634 890300 or: Kent NHS Community Dental Service 0300 123 4412.