The first six weeks - setting up a UK urgent dental care centre during the COVID-19 pandemic
Currie, Charlotte C.
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Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many challenges, including provision of urgent dental care. This paper presents a prospective service evaluation during establishment of urgent dental care in the North East of England over a six-week period. Aim To monitor patient volumes, demographics and outcomes at the North East urgent dental care centre and confirm appropriate care pathways. Main outcome methods Data were collected on key characteristics of patients accessing urgent care from 23 March to 3 May 2020. Analysis was with descriptive statistics. Results There were 1,746 patient triages (1,595 telephone and 151 face-to-face), resulting in 1,322 clinical consultations. The most common diagnoses were symptomatic irreversible pulpitis or apical periodontitis. Sixty-five percent of clinical consultations resulted in extractions and 0.8% in an aerosol generating procedure. Patients travelled 25 km on average to access care; however, this reduced as more urgent care centres were established. The majority of patients were asymptomatic of COVID-19 and, to our knowledge, no staff acquired infection due to occupational exposure. Conclusion The urgent dental care centre effectively managed urgent and emergency dental care, with appropriate patient pathways established over the six-week period. Dental preparedness for future pandemic crises could be improved and informed by this data.
Link to resourcehttps://www.nature.com/articles/s41415-020-1708-2
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