A woman with her mouth open is examined by a dentist.

Information about accessing dental services during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dental services 

All dental practices remain open for children and adults throughout Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, but with a reduced service. 

Dentists and their teams continue to work to their normal high standard of infection control and you will already be used to seeing dentists in masks, gloves and visors routinely. But during this time dental staff may also have to use additional items. These are pieces of equipment commonly being used at our hospitals.

Dentists can’t currently use drills, because the fine sprays generated by them could be an infection risk at the moment. But there are still plenty of services available.

If patients ring up with a toothache, swelling or non-healing ulcer now, they will initially get a telephone consultation.

Dentists will review your case over the phone and if it is something simple like a broken filling they will give advice on how to manage them for the time being. Depending on the problem, they might offer prescription antibiotics or painkillers.  Video links trials with patients to further aid patient care are also being considered.

If a dentist cannot assess you over the phone you will be asked to come to the surgery to be assessed in person. While dentists can’t currently drill teeth, they can still provide temporary fillings, or extract a troublesome tooth if it is simple and uncomplicated.

For patients who are urgent cases and do need to have more complex care or procedures, the health board has set up an urgent dental centre, which all dentists in the area can quickly refer patients to. Staff there are equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment, which allows them to safely carry out these more complex procedures.

It’s important that people continue to contact their local dentist if they have urgent problems such as a swelling, pain that is not relieved with simple analgesia within 24-48 hours or if they have ulcers which are not healing within seven days.

No-one should be suffering from toothache or a dental infection - your local dentist is able to provide care and advice quickly. 


General information

If tooth or gum pain develops contact your own dentist as they can provide emergency treatment.

If you are not registered with a practice or develop a problem outside of normal working hours ring 111 and they will help you find your nearest emergency dentist.

If you receive urgent dental treatment the charge will be £14 unless you are exempt from paying NHS charges. If you do not have to pay for treatment, you will be asked to provide evidence of this when you attend the practice.

Toothache on its own (for example, toothache with no other accompanying symptoms or signs) is not a dental emergency.  Patients with toothache should not attend an Emergency Department.


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