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Dentists should plan for treating patients again ‘in three weeks’, say MPs

PEOPLE suffering dental problems in England will be able to visit their local surgery “in the next few weeks” as MPs push for the service to be part of phase two of the coronavirus lockdown easing.

While a date has not yet been confirmed, some MPs have questioned why the service was closed in the first place.

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Dentists are currently closed due to coronavirus
Dentists are currently closed due to coronavirus

Many patients have resorted to doing their own DIY dental work at home, while other practices have also warned they could face bankruptcy if the closures continue for any longer.

MPs such as Judith Cummings have previously penned to the government to provide further financial support to the closed practices.

The second phase of the lockdown is set to be lifted on June 15 and MPs have called for dentists to be part of this, alongside retailers.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Sir Desmond Swanye said patients had been left high and dry by the closures and added that he didn’t understand why “dentists can’t open straight away”.

“We are talking about highly trained, skilled physicians who know how to protect themselves and who are accustomed to wearing PPE anyway. 

“The reality is that patients are not being treated at the urgent centres. All the urgent centres will offer you is an extraction.”

Plans announced in Scotland stated that urgent care centres will be opened first followed by dental practices and England is set to follow these plans.

The dos and don’ts of caring for your teeth during lockdown

With many people unable to seek urgent dental care, what can you do to make sure you don’t need to make a trip to the emergency care centre?

Catherine Tannahill, director of clinical dentistry at Portman Dental Care said there are many things you can do to make sure you look after your oral health during lockdown.


  • Eat low alkali food and drinks: doing this after meals helps balance the acidic effects of sugary foods
  • Wait to brush your teeth: after eating you should wait one hour before brushing your teeth to avoid enamel damage
  • Have sugar free gum: chewing gum helps you produce saliva which helps your mouth stay clean and your teeth strong
  • Eat your veggies: eat foods that are good for your teeth like celery and carrots


  • Eat too much fruit: fruits are strong in acidic sugars, you should eat as part of a meal and not as a snack
  • Crunch ice: crunching ice can cause microbreaks in your teeth
  • Avoid fizzy drinks: fizzy drinks are high in sugar and it’s best to avoid them while dental practices are closed
  • Avoid sticky foods: things like caramel and toffee can loosen brace wires and fillings

This is while the Chief Dental Officer Sara Hurley has said dentists should expect a phased reopening in England.

MPs such as Ms Cummings and Maria Miller have been campaigning for greater financial support to dental practices.

One practice in Brighton has already warned it will face bankruptcy if the closures continue.

Dental Health Spa, managed by Christina Chatfield, may not survive the pandemic.


Although staff at the practice have been furloughed, rent and bills still need to be paid.

Ms Chatfield, along with the MPs has created a petition to extend the business rate relief to all dental practices.

It has now received over 10,000 signatures, meaning the government will have to respond.

Labour MP for Putney, Fleur Anderson said the letter has gone unanswered so far and added that we “urgently need”practices back.

“Any return must happen sooner rather than later – ideally in June.”

Dentists in the UK have not been able to function properly since the coronavirus lockdown as aerosol is used for most treatments.

The centres that have remained open are for emergency care only and dentists working at them are not allowed to use aerosol.

This is while many have also been left without adequate personal protective equipment due to the shortage across the NHS.

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