Our emergency dental service has seen its busiest weekend yet as teams step in to help vulnerable and shielding people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Oxfordshire’s Community Dental Service normally offers special care dentistry to children and adults who are not able to receive care from a general high street dentist. These patients may have a learning or physical disability, anxiety or phobia, mental health issues, or a serious ongoing medical condition.

Since the UK went into lockdown the service has also been providing urgent dental care to people who have been advised to shield themselves during the outbreak plus emergency care for those who can temporarily no longer access any dental care.

The service has changed the way it delivers clinics – providing urgent dental care directly in people’s homes and assessing patients remotely using video software before giving advice on pain relief, condition management and prescribing medication. The team are also delivering prescriptions or medicines to people’s homes, or arranging for prescriptions to be sent remotely to pharmacies

For patients who need face-to-face urgent dental treatment the service is running clinics at different locations for people who have symptoms of coronavirus and those who do not.  Particularly vulnerable patients who have been instructed to shield themselves during the pandemic are seen in isolation.

Ros Mitchell, clinical director for the service, said: “We are seeing a lot of demand for our services at the moment and have put things in place to support our patients’ specialised needs at this very difficult time.

“We are able to examine, advise and prescribe remotely so people can stay in their own homes and, when people do need to come through our doors for treatment, the safety of our patients and staff is paramount.

“We are reducing the risk of the spread of coronavirus as much as possible which is particularly important for our patients who have special needs or have a serious ongoing health condition and have been advised to shield themselves. The most recent Easter Weekend was the busiest ever with nearly 30 per cent more calls, and 80 per cent more direct or indirect patient contacts with clinicians.

“I was tremendously proud of my team as they adapted to the difficult working conditions and “went the extra mile” to meet the patients needs and keep them safe in lockdown.”