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COVID-19: Reopening practices and returning to work

Last updated: 6 November, 2020

Health bodies from the four nations have been working on transitional plans to allow dental practices to resume offering a full range of dental services.

This guidance is applicable throughout the UK:

Infection control and PPE

Your primary source of guidance on infection control and personal protective equipment (PPE) should always be the Public Health England (PHE) website.

On 20 October the COVID-19: infection prevention and control dental appendix was published, containing updated, UK-wide guidance for NHS, private and independent dental settings.

For guidance on fit testing face masks to avoid transmission during the coronavirus outbreak please see the Health and Safety Executive website.

You can find nation-specific, and further general guidance, below.

NHE England - Transition to recovery

NHS England has produced a dental standard operating procedure: Transition to recovery - a phased transition for dental practices towards the resumption of the full range of dental provision.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Your primary source of guidance on infection control and personal protective equipment (PPE) should be Public Health England.

For guidance on fit testing face masks to avoid transmission during the coronavirus outbreak please see the Health and Safety Executive website.

The latest information can be found on our COVID-19: latest guidance for England page

Remobilisation of NHS Dental Services in Scotland

Following an announcement in Parliament from the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing on 12 October, NHS dental contractors will, from Sunday 1 November, be able to provide a full range of treatments to all NHS patients within dental practices.

The latest letter from CDO Scotland confirms this.

Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP)

To support practitioners working in primary dental care, the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) has developed a Practice Recovery toolkit which includes a guide and associated implementation tools. 

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Your primary source of guidance on infection control and personal protective equipment (PPE) should be Public Health England.

For guidance on fit testing face masks to avoid transmission during the coronavirus outbreak please see the Health and Safety Executive website.

The latest information can be found on our COVID-19: latest guidance for Scotland page

Resuming routine dental services in Wales

On the 23 October the Welsh Chief and Deputy Chief Dental Officer shared a letter addressed to all Primary Care Dental Teams, detailing what the new firebreak restrictions mean for dentistry.

On 7 September the Welsh Government published standard operating procedures for the dental management of non-COVID-19 patients in Wales and to Inform orthodontic treatment in Wales during COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister for Health and Social Services has released a statement lifting the Red alert in dentistry in Wales from 22 June.

Dental services can now move to the Amber phase of de-escalation, meaning all dental practices in Wales were able to open from 22 June. 

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Your primary source of guidance on infection control and personal protective equipment (PPE) should be Public Health England.

The latest information can be found on our COVID-19: latest guidance for Wales page

Steps to restore dental services

On 21 October, the Acting Chief Dental Officer issued a letter announcing updates to the Northern Ireland Operational Guidance, been made in light of the release of a dental appendix to the main UK Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) guidance.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Your primary source of guidance on infection control and personal protective equipment (PPE) should be Public Health England.

For guidance on fit testing face masks to avoid transmission during the coronavirus outbreak please see the Health and Safety Executive website.

The latest information can be found on our  COVID-19: latest guidance for Northern Ireland page

The Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK) have produced guidance which aims to facilitate a safe and timely return to the practice of dentistry within primary care , help the dental profession to identify risks and mitigate them appropriately, and develop specific strategies for their individual practice needs.

This guidance first published on 1 June, was updated on 2 October to incorporate the reduced ‘fallow’ times recommended by the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme’.

The FDGP (UK) has also launched a fallow time calculator for dental practices, endorsed by the Chief Dental Officer for England.