SOME dental surgeries were seeing patients face-to-face for the first time this week since lockdown — but practices were given just days to prepare for reopening.
Dentists were allowed to reopen their practices on Monday (8) but most were operating a very limited service and were seeing urgent patients only.
During the lockdown dentists could only provide advice over the phone and make referrals to an urgent dental centre in the highest priority cases.
Rawmarsh Dental Practice opened on Monday for limited treatments only, such as extractions.
Practice manager Shelley Hodgson said they would be building up to using aerosol-generating equipment such as drills in the coming weeks.
She said staff had worked very hard to get the practice up and running again at very short notice.
“We only found out we were opening again when the Prime Minister announced it, so we had a week’s notice to try and get everything together,” she said.
“The guidance was only published last Thursday.
“They said we could open but didn’t tell us how — it’s been a lot of guesswork and a lot of blood, sweat and tears.”
Mrs Hodgson said she could not see the practice returning to “normal” until social distancing was stopped.
“We’ll only allow one person into the practice at one time,” she said.
Mrs Hodgson said her staff had been working hard during lockdown to source personal protective equipment (PPE) for the practice.
“To try to find that when that is being directed into hospitals is difficult,” she said.
“PPE was released to us last Friday and it’s not free.
“My patients have been amazing and have been so understanding.
“None of us wanted this, wanted to stop working or wanted to see patients in pain.”
Foster’s Dental Practice, in Rotherham, said it was not currently returning to routine appointments and would not be offering procedures which involved a dental drill or ultrasonic scaler.
In a statement on its Facebook page it said patients should not bring anyone with them, unless they were a parent or carer, and should not attend the practice without an appointment.
mydentist, which has practices on Doncaster Road and in Effingham Square in Rotherham town centre, and in Brinsworth, was planning to reopen for limited treatments on Monday (15) and for all treatments from July 1.
In a statement on the company’s Facebook page, it said strict social distancing measures would be in place and all patients would have their temperatures checked.
It said it would be prioritising patients who had experienced pain or discomfort during lockdown.
Ivy Cottage Dental Care, on The Crofts, said that it did not resume routine dental care on Monday and routine dental care would slowly be reintroduced once it had received guidance over the coming weeks.
Stag Dental Care was open on Monday for emergency patients only and will be prioritising patients based on their needs.