Dentistry in the News

Interesting news articles at a national level and regional level across the country...

Dentists fear closures and warn it could take five years to repair damage inflicted by COVID shutdown


The Sunday Post reports on that Scotland’s dental health may take five years to recover to its pre-lockdown state, according to the Scottish Dental Practice Owners Group. Commenting in the piece, the BDA’s Chair of the Scottish Dental Practice Committee, David McColl said: “The future of Scotland’s dental services still hangs in the balance. Over six challenging months, our teams have responded well, but at considerable cost. Staff are stressed and facing information overload from all quarters. What they need is definitive guidance and support. The pandemic has shone a light on the broken model at the heart of NHS dentistry. It’s the right time for ministers to look afresh and provide firm foundations and fair funding.” 

Are dentists open now – and when will appointments return to normal?


The Huffington Post answers a readers question, “When do we expect dentists to resume routine procedures, such as fillings?”. The response includes a comment from BDA Chair Eddie Crouch saying that a date hasn’t yet been provided for when routine NHS dental appointments will resume across the board.

Millions of dental appointments missed during lockdown

The BBC Radio Derby’s Sally Pepper show held a discussion about the report from the British Dental Association that millions of dental appointments were missed during the covid-19 lockdown. Lisa and Vanessa Craven, two sisters who are also both dentists, joined the programme to discuss the backlog of dental appointments and the challenges facing dentists and their patients, due to the pandemic. They noted that the missed appointments mean that certain dental problems may have become worse, due to lack of treatment. The discussion also touched on the dangers that dentist face, with such close contact to dental patients, and the extensive nature of the personal protective equipment dentists now use for treatments, to protect themselves and their patients. Patients were urged to re-book their appointments as soon as possible.

 

Listen from 2:18:42
 


Patient access across England has "fallen off a cliff" since March, warns the BDA

Several news outlets in England continue to highlight the BDA’s warning that patient access to dental care across England has "fallen off a cliff" since March, leaving tens of millions of patients unable to get NHS care. These point out that between the end of March and the end of June, the number of adults seen by dentists across England in the last two years fell by 4 per cent, from 21.8million to 21.0million. They also highlight the BDA’s concern that the latest statistics do not fully show the "unprecedented fall in access" driven by the Covid-19 pandemic. It said FoI requests indicated access to the urgent dental care network was just over 2 per cent of the normal level of activity, and recent surveys suggest the overwhelming majority of practices are still operating at less than a quarter of their former capacity. The dental trade union added that practices face significant barriers to expand capacity, warning tens of millions of patients in England will effectively lose access to dental services unless current regulations evolve. Dave Cottam, chair of the BDA's general dental practice committee, said: "This is data is from another era. Since March patient access has fallen off a cliff, and there is no certainty when or if it can be restored. Access was in a bad place pre-pandemic. We should lament how few children and adults made it to an NHS dentist last year, but the real question now is how we can even bring the service back to these levels. We have practices struggling, and tens of millions of patients need somewhere to go. We need government to work with us to rebuild capacity."

 

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: "Children’s oral health in England is among the best in the world, and in the last year more than 7 million children have been seen by a dentist, with more than three quarters having no decayed, missing or filled teeth by the age of five.

Milton Keynes Citizen - NHS dental check ups in Milton Keynes dropped significantly during lockdown

Daily Echo - Dental appointments have ‘fallen off a cliff’ in Southampton

Clacton Gazette - Patient access to dentists has 'fallen off a cliff'

This is Lancashire - Warning patients could lose access to a dentist as check-ups in Bolton drop

 

ADG research claims 7.6% of households have tried pulling their own teeth

 

Millions of people attempted DIY dentistry including extractions during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the findings of a poll highlighted in the Times today. The research found that people had tried to treat a cavity themselves in 7.9 per cent of households, while 7.6 per cent had attempted to remove a tooth. Someone in 12.7 per cent of households had taken painkillers for tooth or gum pain, according to the survey of 2,000 adults by Opinium and released by the Association of Dental Groups. Neil Carmichael, chairman of the association, said: "Pulling your own teeth out is rarely a good idea as it can damage the surrounding teeth and lead to long-term problems. These findings suggest that when routine appointments restart, dentists across the country should brace themselves for an oral health horror show. "All of the signs are that dentists will be called upon to repair the damage caused by broken and knocked out teeth, on top of a host of other oral health problems that lockdown has been storing up."

 

Meanwhile, the British Dental Association pointed out that dental treatment fell by up to 98 per cent at the height of lockdown.

Not available online


Prioritising coronavirus testing in high-risk areas has led to shortages in others, with some people being asked to drive more than 100 miles for a swab
The government says areas with fewer Covid-19 cases have had their testing capacity reduced to cope with outbreaks elsewhere. But public health experts warn this could miss the start of new spikes.

 

Meanwhile, a £500m fund to trial a 20-minute saliva test has been unveiled. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC that testing was being focused on areas with outbreaks where case numbers were much higher, but the "vast majority" of people could get a test "close to home".


Millions of people have been doing their own dentistry during lockdown, according to ADG

Sky News reports millions of people have been doing their own dentistry and pulling out their own teeth during the coronavirus lockdown, according to figures from the Association of Dental Groups in the UK.

 

Note, no further details were available from Sky at the time of writing

31/05/20 Update: Changes to reporting

Reporting on the number of people tested has been temporarily paused to ensure consistent reporting across all pillars. This is due to a small percentage of cases where the same person has had more than one test or tested positive more than once for COVID-19 in Pillar 2. Corrections will be made to any figures if they have subsequently been found to have an error.

The number of tests is 1,395 higher than the difference between today and yesterday’s cumulative totals. This is due to revisions to historical data in Pillar 1 (adding 3 tests) and Pillar 2 (removing 1,398 tests) due to further information being made available to support data processing.

The number of in-person tests is 5,005 higher and delivery 3,607 lower than the difference between today and yesterday’s cumulative totals. This is due to revisions to historical data in Pillar 2 due to further information being made available to support data processing.

The daily count for deaths in all settings is 6 lower than the daily count for deaths in hospital. This is because the hospital-only count will include some deaths that have already been included in the composite all-settings count on a previous day.

From 1st June we will stop publishing a separate count of deaths in hospital as our daily count now provides a count of deaths in all settings. NHS England continue to publish deaths in hospital, for England, on their website.

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