Dental practices 'operating at less than a quarter of capacity' in Wales

Dental practices are stuck.
Dental practices are operating at one quarter of their capacity pre-pandemic.

Dental practices in Wales are operating at less than a quarter of capacity and will not be operating fully until 'at least October', it has been claimed.

Some services at dentist surgeries across the country have been allowed to resume as lockdown restrictions were eased, but stringent guidelines have made it difficult for them to operate fully.

The Welsh Government gave the green light to this sector to resume from 1 July, but it was announced that it would be a "phased approach."

Dentists have previously warned procedures can act as "coronavirus heaven" as the risk of cross-infection is high due to the transfer of saliva.

Professor Mike Lewis told ITV News this is why dentistry was going to be one of the areas of medicine that is going to "find it very difficult to return to normal because of the aerosol generation."

Dental practices in England were allowed to fully resume operations and appointments from 8 June, whilst practices in Wales are currently in an 'amber status' where some procedures can resume.

A spokesperson for the British Dental Association said: " The green status, where routine care returns, is unlikely to be reached till October at the earliest. 

"Both nations are operating fallow time and maintaining 60 minute gaps between patients to reduce risk of viral transmission. This is a major barrier to access for all. 

"It is not a return to business as usual in either nation. Most practices are operating at less than a quarter of their pre-pandemic capacity."

NHS Wales' chief executive confirmed in June that people who had experienced dental problems during lockdown would be seen and assessed, but said they would be monitoring community transmission.

"We will keep an eye out for community transmission while looking at broadening out treatments available."