MOST of the UK's 12,000 dental clinics are presently shut because of coronavirus.
That means if you have a toothache you will have to wait, with the British Dental Association (BDA) advising dentists they should remain shut except for emergency cases to avoid further spread of coronavirus.
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When will dentists open?
Dentists are closed to all but emergency treatment after Prime Minister Boris Johnson placed the UK into lockdown on Monday, March 23, in a bid to tackle coronavirus.
The lockdown is currently being reviewed at three-week intervals, but it is unclear when the current restrictions will be lifted with the Government's medical advisers advising that a number of tests be met before measures are relaxed.
Consistent with Government advice to limit social contact, dentists across the country have closed to prevent the spread of the bug, except for emergency appointments.
Treatments including routine fillings, root canals and scaling and polishing will be completely stopped unless the patient has a serious medical emergency of dental cause.
While Johnson announces some easing of the lockdown rules, and a road map out of lockdown which encompassed shops, bars and restaurants and schools.
But there has been no mention of when dentists will reopen.
In a statement on their website on Monday, May 11, the British Dental Association (BDA) explained this mean no change.
The BDA said: "Given the uncertainty and reflecting the practical consequences of the current official advice, we recommend that practices cease routine dentistry and operate an advice and emergency service only."
It remains unclear at what stage of the the Government's plan to phase out lockdown that dentists will be allowed to reopen to normal capacity.
However, some dentists are taking virtual consultations.
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Can I get orthodontic treatment?
The British Orthodontic Society has advised that no orthodontic patient should attend any clinic at this time.
In an extreme emergency, the patient should contact the practice or unit by phone and discuss ways of resolving their problem at home.
Telephone advice remains available during normal hours at the majority of dental surgeries.
Certain emergency procedures will still be undertaken but only for those without symptoms of Covid-19 – which are usually a high temperature and a new, continuous cough.
Will patients with Covid-19 be treated in an emergency?
Delivery of urgent care to anyone with symptoms of coronavirus will take place at "designated urgent dental care centres".
Dentists who spoke anonymously to the BBC on March 18 said there have been widespread concerns within the profession due to their work in close proximity to the mouths of patients.
The BDA has also said Covid-19 represents a "major risk" to the financial viability of dental practices due to closures.
Chief Executive Martin Woodrow revealed that the BDA had been in touch with the team at NHS England to urge the importance of agreeing financial support for practices.
The PM on Monday, March 23, said people must stay at home except for shopping for basic necessities, exercise, medical need and travelling to and from work for key workers.
Mr Johnson threatened the nation with fines if they did not obey the new rules.
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