NHS Lothian launches re-designed dental centres

NHS Lothian has re-designed six of its dental centres, including one in East Lothian, to provide vital care to patients with more complex cases.

Dental practices will re-open their doors for the first time today (Monday), since lockdown began, however there are a number of treatments which your general dentist will not be able to carry out (described as aerosol generating procedures). These will continue to be provided, where necessary to relieve pain and discomfort, by the Health Board’s Urgent Dental Care Centres which have the required precautions and procedures in place to carry out these procedures safely.

The network, which started as two centres, was introduced at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and has now been increased to six to provide more care and treatment to more patients.

Angus Walls, Director of Dentistry, NHS Lothian, said the centres in Edinburgh, Midlothian, East Lothian and West Lothian, were equipped to provide the enhanced infection control procedures necessary for aerosol-generated procedures. He said:

“Everyone has been in lockdown in their homes for a long period of time now and little issues which may have started as a small niggle and didn’t cause concern can become a significant problem after seven or eight weeks.

“Your own dentist should now be able to resolve many of these problems for you, but we will still need to refer you to one of the Urgent Dental Care Centres when more complex treatment is required to manage your pain or discomfort.”

Patients requiring care should contact their own dentist, who will arrange an appointment and refer on to one of the centres, if required.

If patients don’t have a dentist, they should go to the Unscheduled Dental Care Service at the Chalmers Dental Centre in Edinburgh, which is a “walk in” service.

Out of Hours care is coordinated through NHS24 by calling 111.