Here is an update on dental services in the North East from NHS England, which explains how they will gradually return to full operation from today.

Following the briefing you received last month, we are writing to you again to provide
an update on dental services in the North East and Yorkshire.

As you are aware, since 25 March, NHS dental practices have been providing
telephone advice and triage. All dental practices have been responsible for triaging
patients who contact the practice seeking access to urgent dental care regardless of
whether they are considered ‘regular’ patients of the practice. We have worked with
dentists across the Region and have been able to put in place a network of urgent
dental centres to ensure that where patients have been triaged for face to face
treatment we are able to provide this.

On 28 May 2020, the Government announced that dental practices may begin to
reopen from 8 June 2020 and start to provide a limited range of face to face
treatment, where practices assess that they have the necessary infection prevention
control and PPE requirements in place alongside urgent telephone advice and triage
currently operating.

We are actively supporting dentistry across North East and Yorkshire to resume
NHS dental services safely and effectively and in accordance with advice set out by
the Chief Dental Officer. Although we will see practices in the Region restart some
face to face treatments from Monday 8th June 2020, advice is that the sequencing
and scheduling of patients for treatment as services resume should take into account
the urgency of needs, the particular unmet needs of vulnerable groups and available
capacity to undertake activity. Progression to resumption of the full range of routine
dental care will be risk-managed by the individual practice. We anticipate that in
resuming services, practices in the North East and Yorkshire will be seeing those
with the most urgent issues first and a return to services fully providing routine dental
check-ups and hygienist appointments will come later. Advice for the public explains
how services will look different as dentists begin to resume services. Resumption of
services in a similar manner to that which was previously experienced may be
dependent on the further easing of COVID-19 control measures.

As we support practices to resume services, Urgent Dental Centres will remain in
operation across the region to provide urgent dental treatment particularly where
practices have not yet resumed face to face care. Referral to the urgent dental
centres remains the same, either via the dental practice or 111.

Advice for the public:

• Dental practices will look different as they will be operating in a way that
observes COVID-19 social distancing and hygiene rules, as part of measures
taken to ensure the safety patients and the dental team alike.

• Whilst we are observing social distancing, patients should continue to
telephone or email their practice, rather than attending in person without an

• If you have a regular dentist, you should call them as a first step. The dentist
will assess your situation over the phone, including giving advice and, if
needed, prescriptions for painkillers or antibiotics, or arranging treatment.

• If a patient does not have a regular dentist during the COVID-19 outbreak,
they can still call any local dental practice as well as visiting or call
NHS 111 who will provide advice as appropriate.

• Out of hours for urgent dental issues the advice still remains to visit or call NHS 111. Patients should not be visiting A&E departments
or GPs with dental problems.