DENTAL patients should have access to more treatments from this week as health boards move into the first phase of the easing of healthcare restrictions.

While practices will remain closed, both NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Lanarkshire have said they are working towards May 28 as a target date to be able to see more patients.

Treatment is currently restricted to ‘severe emergencies’ such as extractions and root canal treatment, on front teeth only but according to dentists, the hubs may also be able to see patients who require temporary fillings and work to fix broken teeth, crowns and dentures.

While front line hospital staff are at  high risk from Covid-19 it is actually dentistry which is the most vulnerable profession.

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This is due to the production of airborne material or 'aerosal' during dental procedures, using instruments such as drills and scalers.

Whitemoss Dental Practice, in East Kilbride, which published an update for patients on it’s Facebook page, said a referral letter will still be required from a dentist.

It said: “Although we have no confirmation yet on what additional treatments will be permitted we are hopeful it may include services such as crown recements, additions to dentures and temporising broken fillings/teeth.”

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It added that dental practices are not likely to re-open until after June 18, when the Scottish Government will publish a further review of lockdown restrictions and will be accessible for emergencies only.

It said: “If a drill is required for treatment (e.g. to start a root canal treatment) then the patient will still have to be referred on to the local emergency hub to start treatment.”

The dental surgery said dental practices will begin to see registered patients for non-aerosol routine care in phase three while practices will not be able to offer the full range of services until phase four.

A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: "Within NHSGGC we are preparing for Phase 1, and are working towards Thursday, (28 May) as a target start date.

"This will allow us to deliver an expanded list of treatments for acute and essential care, rather than just emergency care.We are awaiting guidance from the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) which will provide further information for dental practices."