A network of 15 centres has been created across the South West for people who need help for urgent and emergency dental conditions, including severe pain and infection.
The urgent dental centres, commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement, are fully staffed and equipped to provide treatment while high-street surgeries have their doors closed due to covid-19 (coronavirus).
To get access, people should phone their own dentist to be assessed. All NHS dental surgeries should be contactable, even while their doors are closed.
Out of usual surgery hours, people should call NHS111.
Those without a dentist or who cannot get through to their usual surgery should call their local helpline (see below).
The initial phone assessment will help the dentist decide whether someone needs to be seen immediately or within 24 hours, or can be booked in later for an appointment.
Conditions needing immediate treatment might include:
- Dental infection/fever/swelling, especially if it might affect the airway
- Uncontrolled bleeding
In some cases, treatment would be needed in hospital.
The 15 locations have been chosen to cover the South West as best as possible, within limitations posed by staffing and equipment. This means that some patients will need to travel. In Devon, hubs have been created in Exmouth, Plymouth and Torquay. In Cornwall there is one hub in Bodmin. More are expected to be created.
However, with the initial service now operational, further centres are likely to be added to reduce journey time.
Ian Biggs, Director of Primary Care and Public Health for NHS England and NHS Improvement in the South West, said: “We’re really pleased to get the dental centres up and running, so people have somewhere to turn to for urgent care when their own dentist’s doors are shut.
“These are difficult times for everyone, patients and dentists alike, so I apologise if anyone has been struggling to get treatment in the last couple of weeks. I’m grateful to all those who have worked so hard to build a new service from scratch in such a short time.”
The table below shows the contact details for patients without a dentist:
|DevonCall 03330 063300
|CornwallCall 0333 405 0290