Coronavirus: what’s life like as an urgent dental care dentist?

dentist getting ready for urgent dental careSeb Evans, interviews an urgent dental care dentist over how things are going so far. The dentist wishes to remain anonymous.

How is urgent dental care going so far during the coronavirus outbreak? How is it different from routine dentistry?

It’s still early days. We are receiving referrals from the local triage team. Cross-infection measures take a lot longer, including changing PPE.

Our team triages each patient before they come into the practice. We make sure that they get there at a specific time. We keep the front door locked until the patient arrives. Patients now go straight into the treatment rooms (after they have disinfected their hands). Our goal is to treat the patient as quickly and as safely as possible.

All patients have one-hour appointment times. We limit the service to those who you generally cannot treat with advice, analgesics and antibiotics alone.

There are a lot of things we still don’t know about COVID-19 and dentistry. So, we restrict procedures involving aerosols as much as possible for the time being.

Why did you want to volunteer?

My team and I didn’t take this decision lightly. From the outset I have made it clear that involvement in this is completely voluntary, and no-one should feel pressurised. Naturally many had concerns, but many still wanted to play a role where they could.

I have seen posts where people have volunteered to go into hospital and have mentioned helping with procedures like intubation, but this personally terrifies me. As a dentist, I feel I would be useless in pretending that I was a doctor. The best skills I have to offer are in trying to prevent patients with severe dental problems needing to access…

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