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In the news week commencing 18 May 2020

National and local media coverage we've received week commencing 18 May.

Friday 22 May 

ITV News: PPE shortage is preventing dental practices from opening

Last night ITV News reported on the delays in getting dental services up and running because of a lack of access to PPE. It reports on a dentist being fit tested for the first time, and the need to pass this test before a dentist can be cleared to do AGPs. Mohsan Ahmad, a dentist in Greater Manchester, was due to be set up one of the new emergency hubs but has had to wait eight weeks to be fitted for protective equipment that might only allow him to open for a week - he said he wants dentistry to be seen as an integral part of the NHS and not to be forgotten. The report notes that there are around 150 UDC centres in the North West, but only a handful can offer patients in pain treatments that generate aerosols due to an inadequate supply of PPE. It also notes there are consequences for preventative care. BDA Vice Chair Eddie Crouch said: “One of our major concerns is the shocking rise in the number of younger people who are getting oral cancer and the prognosis for oral cancer is far better the earlier it is detected. He said that sometimes these are detected when people are completely unaware of the lesion in their mouth and it’s the dentist that picks it up early enough.

ITV News: Access to emergency dental care: ‘A painfully long wait’

ITV news yesterday also reported on the problems for patients trying to get access to emergency dental treatment, and said that only those in most discomfort and pain are being referred to the emergency "hubs". Facial swelling, breathing difficulties and bleeding are among symptoms qualifying as serious enough for urgent help. It features a case study of a woman whose eight-year old daughter was in pain for five days before being able to get a tooth removed, she said: “….I was made to feel that the pain was not severe enough for her to access urgent dental care treatment.” The BDA is quoted as saying that a lack of PPE is limiting emergency treatment options in some areas. Emergency dentist, Sam Shah, said: "I think the system has become overwhelmed... the limits on PPE across the country make it difficult.” The report says an NHS spokesperson told ITV News hundreds of emergency dental hubs are available with relevant PPE for those who need them. Officials say routine dentistry will restart as soon as appropriate, but for some, it will a painfully long wait.

Daily Express: Dental patients in agony and practices on brink of bankruptcy

The Daily Express yesterday reported on the situation for both patients and dentists during lockdown, featuring a number of case studies. BDA Chair Mick Armstrong is quoted: “Without help, this service may not survive this pandemic. Thousands of small businesses, serving millions of patients are in dire straits. The public are starting to see what life is like without dentistry. It risks becoming permanent unless we see action from the Government.” Our Vice Chair Eddie Crouch was also giving advice to patients in a phone in. One patient said: “It’s been airbrushed out of the national dialogue. Patients are in absolute misery. We are going to be collateral damage in the war against Covid-19.” Jacy Cleal, owner of the private Windmill Dental Practice in West Sussex, was four months into owning her business when lockdown saw it close to 1,800 patients and 12 staff, she said: “I feel terrified about the future. It’s the worst luck and timing.” - she said her house is the guarantee for the businesses, so she may lose that too. The article also highlights our survey showing that 70 per cent of dentists say they face collapse within three months, while one in five would not survive a month. Kanwar Ratra owns two practices in the West Midlands, serving 13,000 patients and 85 per cent of its income is private, he believes it’s unfair private practices are carrying the burden of risk. “If they went bankrupt tomorrow then how is the NHS going to cope with all those patients?” he aks. “There are not enough practices to cater for them and there isn’t the funding either.” In Wales, Russell Gidney runs the Beaufort Park Dental Surgery in Chepstow, South Wales and the article says Welsh dentists remain open and Russell is seeing approximately six patients a week for non AGPs. But he says the 40 per cent private income is vital to his business, “If we don’t get it back, the NHS funds are not enough to support the practice,” he says. 

LBC: Difficulties for dentists and patients during COVID-19 pandemic
Chair of the GDPC, Dave Cottam, spoke to LBC’s Iain Dale last night about the situation for dentistry. Dave said routine checks are still not available and no face to face care can take place: “Things are tough at the moment, particularly for private dentists who are having no support at all from the Government…and the mixed dentists are really struggling and a good number may go out of business in the next two to three months”. He said dentists have outgoings to keep business afloat and no relief from business rates. When asked what people should do if they are in pain, Dave said the UDC centres are available, but made the point that they have been slow to start and there is a lot of DIY dentistry going on, as there are gaps in provision across the UK, and there are specific guidelines on which patients can be referred to them. He said: “The patients we can now see on a daily basis is a 1/3 or 1/4 of the usual, and this is the new normal, because of the effect of COVID and what has to be done to protect patients, staff and the dentists themselves.”
Not available online.
The Times: DIY dentistry makes a comeback while surgeries stay closed
The Times(subscription requiredtoday highlights the issue of people resorting to DIY dentistry since dental practices closed since March. The article says UDC centres are unable to cope with the caseload and a lack of PPE has led to a rise in the number of unnecessary extractions on restorable teeth, according to BDA Chair Mick Armstrong, he is quoted as saying: “Patients in pain have few options. An urgent care system has been plagued by teething problems, while desperate people resort to DIY extractions that belonged in the Victorian era. We still don’t know when practices can reopen, or how many patients we will be capable of treating. A service that tens of millions depend on is in need of government help if it’s going to survive this pandemic and the ‘new normal’.” The article highlights that once dental practice open, the number of patients that can be seen will be severely restricted to prevent virus transmission.

The Times (Scotland): Postcode lottery for dental treatment leaves patients in pain
An article in The Times (Scotland)(subscription requiredhighlights the difficulties getting treatment across Scotland, with data showing that people with dental problems are much more likely to be seen in some parts of Scotland, while other health boards appear to refuse almost everyone an appointment. NHS Lothian, one of the biggest health boards in the country serving about 800,000 people, saw only 53 during the first four weeks of lockdown at its urgent dentistry centres. NHS Tayside saw 900 patients. One Lothian dentist has described trying to refer patients to the emergency centres but being confronted by “a lot of barriers”. He said: “The only things that will be seen are swellings which are progressing to be something that would have to be seen in hospital, oral swellings that are not controlled by antibiotics and are becoming life-threatening.” He added: “It is very frustrating to have patients that are in pain who you cannot get seen. It must be almost unbearable [for patients] in certain cases, on top of everything else.” The option of being seen in one of these hubs varies significantly. Figures seen by The Times suggest that 641 patients were seen in emergency dental hubs in Fife between March 23 and April 20, while 156 were seen in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and no one was seen in the Borders, except 13 patients with Covid-19. David McColl, Chair of the Scottish Dental Practice Committee, said that concern had been expressed about the situation in Edinburgh while the system seemed to be working smoothly in other regions including Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, and Greater Glasgow and Clyde. He said that nobody should have been left in pain without being seen, “I would fully expect the chief dental officer to be liaising with the director of dentistry in Lothian to find out what is happening there to facilitate more treatment for these patients.” He added: “It is typical of the way the Scottish government operates. They devolve everything down to health board level so they all do different things. Maybe if there was a national approach there would not be this variation between boards.” Allister Short, of NHS Lothian, said: “We have followed criteria for patient referrals . . . provided by Scotland’s chief dental officer alongside the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme. This guidance is intended to minimise the number of aerosol generating procedures, by supporting and managing patients through the provision of advice and prescribing of analgesia and antibiotics where appropriate. In recognition of the demand for emergency dental treatment, NHS Lothian has recently expanded its provision.”

St Helen’s Reporter: Thousands seek NHS 111 dental help since practices shut
A piece in the St Helen’s Reporter highlights that thousands of people are calling NHS 111 requiring dental treatment in the North West over the last month. The BDA is quoted as saying the Government's response has left patients waiting in pain and dentists without adequate PPE, and practices providing urgent care are currently seeing less than a quarter of the patients they did before the pandemic. BDA Chair Mick Armstrong is quoted: "In England routine care was shut down while an urgent care network was still on the drawing board. We are now seeing the results. Officials have found you cannot shut down a system that treats over 30 million people a year, without putting anything adequate in its place. Sadly, the pace left patients in pain with nowhere to go, while dentists waited weeks for PPE deliveries in empty clinics. Government failure to support dentistry through the pandemic means many patients may not have practices to come back to.” The article notes the BDA survey showing that over 70% of practice owners are financially sustainable for just three months or less, and will only be able to treat drastically reduced numbers when they do re-open because of social distancing. NHS 111 services across England took 1.7 million calls in April, with 7% of triaged calls being advised to see a dentist. In the North West, this was the case for 4% of calls. The article says that Health Secretary Matt Hancock has previously told MPs that reopening dental practices has to be done in a safe way, particularly over the use of aerosols.

LAD Bible: Woman films herself trying to pull own tooth out with pliers
A gory video featured on the LAD Bible shows the moment a woman tried to pull her own tooth out with a pair of pliers after she was unable to get a dentist appointment amid the coronavirus lockdown. The commentary notes it is not for the faint of heart. The article quotes David Cottam, Chair of GDPC as saying the system under lockdown was ‘…working better than it was' but treatment at hubs was 'very, very limited' and meant some teeth were taken out rather than saved. Also features in the Liverpool Echo online.

Thursday 21 May

House of Lords calls for a 'national plan to get dentistry back on track’ 

Concerns about the state of dentistry were raised by a number of Lords in a debate on the subject yesterday in the House of Lords. They called on the government to work with the British Dental Association and the chief dental officer to establish a national plan to ‘get dentistry back on track and to save the profession from ruin’. Labour’s spokesperson on dentistry, Lady Thornton, said dentists had to be helped to survive the pandemic, and asked the government what financial support might be given to this sector to make that happen, and what steps it was taking to ensure treatment guidelines and access to PPE.

The government minister Lord Bethell responded by saying the government had provided ‘enormous’ financial support by honouring NHS contracts. He said he personally couldn’t wait for dentists to re-open since he had lost a front tooth and it uncomfortable and embarrassing. 

ITV Wales: Ongoing PPE concerns

Last night ITV Wales evening news featured a piece on PPE concerns raised by two dental nurses in North Wales, in addition to their ineligibility for NHS payments for death-in-service because they are not NHS employees. Welsh GDPC Chair, Tom Bysouth briefly appeared and spoke on the differing risks posed by differing treatments and the importance of a good risk assessment. The piece included a statement from Welsh Government who said that PPE and workforce safety is a top priority.

Not available online


BBC Radio Kent: BDA in ongoing discussions for a return to high street dentistry

BBC Radio Kent Drive reported that we had met with the government, NHS England and the Chief Dental Officer (England) to discuss a safe return to regular dental activity. The presenter noted that patients should call their own dentist in the first instance and if there is an emergency the patient will be referred to the urgent dental care centres.

Not available online

Daily Star: Plea by Scottish government to provide for financial support for dentists

Dentists in Scotland have written to the Scottish government and warned them that dentists in Scotland are in urgent need of more financial support and that if does not take place dentistry risks going back an entire generation in caring for teeth. The newspaper reports on our survey which shows two-thirds of private dentists fear they will not survive the lockdown if it goes on for much longer.

Daily Star (Scotland), 21/5/20, not available online


Birmingham Mail: Woman tries to pull out own teeth after lockdown leaves her dentist shut

The Birmingham Mail reported that Fay Rayward spent several minutes trying to work a broken tooth free. She was prompted to remove the tooth herself due to the extreme pain she was in. She told the Birmingham Mail that she had tried to get an emergency dental appointment but would only be able to be seen if she was struggling to breathe. She posted a video of her DIY dentistry online to highlight the lack of dental treatment during the covid crisis. In the end she received an appointment at an urgent dental care hub the day after she posted her video online. David Cottam, Chair of the our general dental practice committee, was quoted as saying the treatment at urgent dental care hubs is very limited and this meant that some teeth were having to be removed rather than saved.

Wednesday 20 May

BBC: Coronavirus: ‘I tried to remove my teeth with pliers’

The BBC highlights the plight of patients turning to DIY dentistry during lockdown. One patient tried to pull out her own tooth with pliers and failed but eventually had it removed at a UDC centre, she says the current system is ‘not working’. The article notes that local practices were told to suspend routine services on 25 March, to slow the spread of coronavirus and to set up the local hubs. 

Dave Cottam, GDPC Chair said the system under lockdown was "working better than it was" but treatment at hubs was "very, very limited" and meant some teeth were taken out rather than saved. On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Commons that, "anyone who needs urgent dentistry" should be able to go to one of the hubs, adding the government was working to "get dentistry safely up and running when we can”. Dave also featured on BBC Midlands Today this morning, commenting on the situation: “We are involved in negotiations nationally and we are looking at weeks not months. But it’s all subject to conditions, and those conditions are out of our control. We should have the PPE available on the frontline so that we as a team can treat our patients….” The report says NHS England insists the system is working well in the West Midlands and says is monitoring the numbers.

Watch at 00:30 


BBC Points West: Patients in the West way behind in accessing urgent dental care

BBC Points West featured story on access urgent to care for patients yesterday. It says the BDA claims that some patients in acute dental pain are still being turned away. One case study of a patient who can’t get treatment, despite a referral from her dentist to a UDC Centre, but it still waiting, she said: ’I miss my dentist and he’s a really lovely dentist and when I did speak to him he said they are all desperate to get back to work because he’s… getting people ringing up in tears.’ 

Our board Vice Chair Eddie Crouch said, “I understand last week there was only one centre open in Gloucestershire for the whole of the county and they were receiving 30 referrals every day from the dentist… and only about 7 of those were being seen in the one UDC centre, which is clearly not enough for a county the size of Gloucestershire.’ Matthew Jerreat speaking for NHS England says some dentists are making inappropriate referrals and say that there isn’t a problem with adequate PPE and disputed that BDA’s claim that there were only two fitting devices as of last week for the whole of the South West, he said he ‘didn’t believe that’. He said the LDCs were communicating information with local dentists, to ensure referrals are appropriate. When asked about check-ups and oral cancer being missed, said dentist are getting ‘quite clever’ at using telephone triage and video conferencing to actually ‘see’ patients.

Watch at 04:07


BBC Radio Kent: When will dentists re-open?

BBC Radio Kent yesterday features a letter from a listener on when she will be able to see a dentist. The presenter said: ’No given date as yet’ according to the BDA as to when dentists are reopening. They noted Health Secretary Matt Hancock said ‘working on restart of dentistry more broadly…. but has to be safe.’ 

Last week it said the BDA met with NHS England, CDO and Health Minister for a new series of meetings addressing how to get dentists up and running once restriction ease. The presenter highlighted: ‘If you haven’t got COVID-19 related symptoms you can call your local practice and they will point you in the right direction’, he also said dental hubs are available for dental treatment for ‘life threatening’ things and flagged the information available on the BDA website, but that they suggest you contact your own local practice as a starting point.

Not available online

Tuesday 19 May

BBC Radio Gloucestershire: Patients still being turned away from dental hubs

BBC Radio Gloucestershire Breakfast this morning reported that the BDA is warning that patients in acute dental pain are still being turned away from UDC Centres in the West. It said dentists are referring up to 30 patients each day to the hub in Gloucester but only 7 were being seen. NHS England has announced the opening of a new centre in Quedgeley, and pointed out that only patients who meet certain criteria will get an appointment. Similar concerns attributed to the BDA were expressed on BBC Local Radio in Bristol, regarding the limited capacity of of urgent dental care centres in Bath, Bristol and Weston Super Mare, due to the protection procedures that need to be taken and the deep cleaning required between patients. An NHS spokesman stated that all patients who meet the criteria for being seen at urgent dental care centres should be seen.

Listen at 06:32

Daily Mail: The painful truth about dentistry in lockdown
An article in the Daily Mail today highlights the fact that dentistry was not mentioned in the guidance on lockdown easing, and that dental surgeries cannot currently reopen. It says 600,000 patients have needed urgent dental treatment for problems such as infections and broken teeth in the UK since all routine dental treatment was stopped and practices were ordered to close under the coronavirus lockdown on March 23. It reports that the office of the chief dental officer in England declared that there will be 'no change yet' in the suspension of normal dental care. The BDA is quoted as saying that the UDC centres have been ‘blighted’ by problems setting up and shortages of PPE. Our scientific adviser, Damien Walmsley, says that dental practices are limited in the help they can offer patients. He said that dentists want to see the return of dentistry under safe conditions for both practitioners and patients: ’Most dentists are desperate to get back to work.’ The piece also covers the issue of dental practices not being able to get business rates relief and the BDA is quoted as saying that, ’Private practice accounts for more than half of the £7.8 billion spent each year on dentistry, and much of that money is used to subsidise NHS work….if private dentistry is left to collapse - which looks very possible at present - this will have a disastrous effect on the overall provision of care to patients.'

I-News: Horrifying DIY dentistry measures at home during lockdown
I-News today features a story on people 'using knives and forks to take teeth out, and nail files to cut down broken teeth’. The BDA is mentioned as saying the new urgent care system has faced teething problems, with a lack of the protective kit needed for “aerosol-generating procedures” and as a result, in some practices, the only treatment on offer is teeth removal. “In this day and age that’s pretty prehistoric,” says James Goolnik.

Mirror: Dental surgeries still have no date to reopen
The Mirror reports today on dental surgeries being given no date yet as to when they can reopen. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is quoted as saying: "We are working on the restart of dentistry more broadly. I understand the challenges especially for those who want to see their own dentists and, frankly, for dentists' practices. With NHS contracts we have continued to keep the funds flowing but, of course, many dentists rely on their private income as well - and we support the mixed market in dentistry. What we need to do is get dentistry safely up and running when we can, but it has to be safe.” His comments were in response to Conservative MP Sir Desmond Swayne saying that regional hubs "offer little more than extractions”. He told the Commons: "I want to keep my teeth!…When will dentists be able to treat their own patients?”. Mr Hancock replied: "We have urgent dental hubs so anybody who does need urgent dentistry can get a dentist's appointment through their GP.” The piece says the BDA has been calling for more clarity over when and how dentists might be able to reopen and joined NHS England, the Chief Dental Officer (England) and a Health Minister last week for meetings about how to "increase dental activity once restrictions ease.” 

Independent: Dental care during lockdown
An article in the Independent advises prioritising oral health whilst dentists remain closed. BDA Scientific Adviser, Professor Damien Walmsley, is quoted, “Preventing dental problems will put off more pressing problems in the future. Dental pain or discomfort is the result of previous poor diet choices such as excessive sugar or not brushing your teeth on a regular basis…making sure that you look after your oral health is part of keeping your overall health in tip-top condition.” He also offers advice on using toothpastes and mouthwashes and recommends cutting down on sugary foods and drinks.

Monday 18 May

BBC Radio 5: Lack of guidance on how to get back to treating patients
Stephen Nolan, on BBC Radio 5 on 17 May spoke to our Vice Chair Eddie Crouch about when routine dental care might resume again. When asked if there was any indication when teams might be able to get back to work, Eddie said: “That is the real problem for the profession, many colleagues are beginning to get completely frustrated by the lack of guidance in how we are going to get back to treating patients. It’s nine weeks now since we saw patients on a face to face basis, and every week that the number of people with problems gets bigger and bigger, we are going to have a massive problem when we eventually can open up again because probably the numbers of patients we’ll be able to see is going to be very small and we are going to have to disappoint lots of people who have been waiting a long time, who are in a long queue.” When asked if dentists were planning for when they can get back to work, Eddie said that they were trying to, but it was difficult, he said: “We are relying on the guidance from PHE, we are relying on the availability of PPE, it’s been a massive problem across the NHS - we want to deliver care for patients that is safe, for our patients and safe for our staff and our dentists there’s lots of uncertainty”. Eddie said there needed to be a conversation with patients nationally from the Government, telling them what they can expect from dentistry going forward.

Listen from 57:38


Times: Government needs to invest now to preserve a service for the future
The Times on 18 May featured a piece on the lack of financial help from Government for dentists and physios. It says the picture for dental surgeries is bleak. Citing our survey data, it says fewer than three in ten respondents thought they would be able to survive beyond the start of August without government assistance. Chair Mick Armstrong is quoted as saying: “If you’re 100 per cent private, you get nothing and pay full rates. That’s bizarre when you compare with say, a bookmaker next door who will be getting the relief,” and “Dentistry is a forgotten part [of the economy] and doesn’t seem to attract much constructive thought. The government needs to invest now to preserve a service for the future, private and NHS.” Mick also notes that there is pent-up demand that a reeling dental sector will struggle to meet, warning that a reduction in capacity will ultimately damage people’s health: “You can see the water backing up behind the dam,” he said. “You can die of a serious dental infection. It doesn’t happen often, but we’re creating the right environment for that to happen.”

Telegraph: Letter clarifies who is responsible for issuing guidance to high street dentists 
A letter from board Vice Chair Eddie Crouch featured in the Daily Telegraph today, clarifying that the BDA is not responsible for issuing guidance to restrict high street dentistry, in response to commentary in another letter printed in the paper earlier on 16 May. He said that dentists need to comply with advice and instructions from the Chief Dental Officer, Public Health England and the Care Quality Commission. He said, “As a dentist, I want to get back to looking after my patients as soon as possible.”

Sunday Telegraph: Spike in mouth cancer' if dental surgeries aren't allowed to reopen
The Sunday Telegraph reports that Sam Waley-Cohen, founder of Portman Dental Care, has spoken out over his concern that not having dental surgeries open will lead to an increase in undetected mouth cancers. Mr Waley-Cohen noted that oral cancer rates were on the increase even before the covid crisis and without early detection there were likely to be more deaths from this disease. The Sunday Telegraph also featured comment from our Chief Executive, Martin Woodrow, who said the NHS England has been holding meeting with dental leaders, but has given no assurances on a timeline for reopening - he said “nothing’s really changed” for the industry, even as lockdown measures began to ease this week. An NHS spokesman said: “As soon as Public Health England and the (chief medical officer) advise it is appropriate, routine dentistry will be able to restart. In the meantime, 500 urgent dental care hubs are available across the country for those who need their care. The Daily Mail also covered this story today, claiming that deaths linked to mouth cancer will “soar” if the government refuses to allow dental practices to reopen. It too caries quotes from Sam Waley-Cohen, who owns £300m worth of oral health practices across the UK. The article says that BDA has warned that patients needing dental care in England are being left in agony because they are unable to get emergency care at this time. The article notes that mouth cancer rates soared in the UK last year to hit a record high before the pandemic.

Daily Telegraph: Insurers have become the villains of the COVID-19 crisis
The Daily Telegraph on 16 May reported that cash-strapped companies - including dentists - are clamouring in vain for payouts as the wording in policies heads to the courts. Smalls businesses are taking action over insurers refusals to pay out for coronavirus-related losses under their business interruption policies. It says many firms have remained silent on the issue and the Association of British Insurers has been accused of being brazenly unsympathetic and infuriated customers by stating flatly that most policies would not cover losses arising from the pandemic. Hiscox and other insurers protest that their business interruption policies were never intended to cover a pandemic or nationwide lockdown and that paying out on every claim would bankrupt the industry. To solve the furore over business interruption claims more quickly, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is collecting a sample of business interruption policies and will ask High Court judges to give a declaratory ruling on whether they should trigger payouts for the pandemic. Insurers have welcomed the move but launching the legal action was naive as settlement negotiations between businesses and insurers are likely to hit a brick wall until the High Court issues its ruling on the test cases, says Ravi Nayer, a partner at Brown Rudnick, a law firm, who is advising the BDA on whether its members are entitled to receive payments. The watchdog failed to consider that insurers would stop negotiating settlements until the court gives its judgment, leaving businesses facing a liquidity crunch, he says. The Financial Ombudsman may similarly halt its deliberations on complaints. The FCA is aiming to have the policies reviewed by judges before the court’s summer holidays and has already hired lawyers from Herbert Smith Freehills, one of the City’s top litigation firms. The watchdog is asking policyholders to send it arguments and examples to bolster its case, but if policyholders are not directly represented, this could make it difficult for the court to properly interpret the contracts - “It means a court can make a decision that affects a policyholder without considering their individual circumstances,” says Nayer. “If an insurer thinks [the ruling] applies, individual policyholders may not have the resources to challenge or appeal it.” 

Sunday Telegraph, 17/5/20, not available online


Huffington Post: Bookies are getting full rates relief, dentists are not 
The Huffington Post reports that dentists are calling for urgent financial support, amid fears that 70% of dental surgeries could close, due to the pandemic. The article notes that dentists are only receiving limited help, if they are NHS dentists and none if they are private. The structure of government support to small businesses mean that many dentists are not being supported. Mick Armstrong, Chair, is quoted as saying that while bookies on the high street are getting full rate relief dental practices are not. The article notes that if private dental practices close and do not return, it will shift a huge burden of patients to NHS dentists, without the NHS funding to support those extra numbers.


Daily Telegraph: DIY dentistry is filling a gap while clinics stay closed
The Daily Telegraph reported on 18 May that desperate measures are being taken to get relief from tooth pain, and asks if surgeries should have been shut down. It reports on a patient pulling out his own tooth after failing to get a referral to a UDC centre. Julie Deverick, president of the British Society of Dental Hygiene & Therapy is quoted as saying the viral load of coronavirus in aerosol machines isn’t as high as previously thought, and other European countries have kept most of their dental clinics open. BDA Chair Mick Armstrong is also quoted and said he blames a “dragging of heels in government”, which has left “thousands of practices unclear if they have a future”.