DENTAL practices in England can reopen from June 8 provided they put in place appropriate safety measures.
All routine dental care in England has been suspended since March 25.
During the closure, patients with emergency dental problems were to be referred to an urgent dental care hub for treatment.
In a letter to all practices, NHS England's chief dental officer (CDO) Sara Hurley said: "We are asking that all dental practices commence opening from Monday, 8 June for all face-to-face care, where practices assess that they have the necessary IPC [infection prevention and control] and PPE [personal protective equipment] requirements in place."
She said it was essential for practitioners to use their clinical judgement and to risk-manage the delivery of dental care.
Practices are being advised that sequencing and scheduling of patients for treatment should take into account:
- The urgency of needs
- The particular unmet needs of vulnerable groups
- Available capacity to undertake activity.
The British Dental Association (BDA) welcomed the move but said patience would be required.
Chairman Mick Armstrong said: “It is right to allow practices to decide themselves when they are ready to open. Dentists will be keen to start providing care as soon as is safely possible, but we will need everyone to be patient as practices get up and running,
"Dentists can open their doors but won't be able to provide a full range of care without the necessary kit. Longer term, practices can only stay afloat with ongoing support, while social distancing continues and the costs of providing care are sky high."