Dentists have warned that people could lose teeth if Covid-19 restrictions in Wales are not eased to allow more check-ups, the BBC has reported.
With most of Wales’ covid rules now eased, the British Dental Association (BDA) have said they now want rules for dentists to be relaxed, too.
Whilst routine treatments are slowly being reintroduced, strict hygiene measures remain in place, including the requirement to include downtime between patients – therefore continuing the limitation on how many patients can be seen.
Russell Gidney, chair of the BDA's Welsh General Dental Practice Committee, explained to the broadcaster that delays could mean tooth decay, gum disease and cancer may go unspotted. He added that whilst “surgeries were prioritising so-called ‘red patients’ - those with underlying issues like gum disease - and emergencies, the wait was making it difficult for dentists to see anyone else.” He then expanded, “minor issues, like a small hole in the tooth, which may not be obvious to a patient, could end up needing a major procedure if people were not able to book routine check-ups.”
On how the pandemic has affected dental treatment in Wales, the BBC highlights that “the number of treatment sessions claimed on the Welsh NHS fell by 97 per cent, from 1.1m in January to March 2020, to 22,713 in April to June 2020. However, “Practitioners did undertake video or phone consultations - of which there have been about 350,000 in Wales in the past 18 months - for patients with less urgent problems.” Furthermore, the Welsh Government “said it had given £450,000 to help practices in lockdown” – less than the £12.5 million the Scottish Government has promised, but more than dentists in England have received. Indeed, dentists in England have been outspoken regarding the fact that they have not received any financial support to help implement changes in practices, such as increased ventilation.