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The first six weeks - setting up a UK urgent dental care centre during the COVID-19 pandemic

Lookup NU author(s): Emily Carter, Dr Charlotte CurrieORCiD, Bis Asuni, Sarah Simpson, Dr Christopher Donnell, Professor Mark Greenwood, Dr Graham Walton, Dr Ben Cole, Professor Justin DurhamORCiD, Dr Richard HollidayORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Nature Publishing Group, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


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 service and confirm appropriate care pathways. Main Outcome Methods: Data were collected on key characteristics of patients accessing urgent care from 23rd March to 3rd May 2020. Analysis was with descriptive statistics. Results: There were 1746 patient triages, (1595 telephone and 151 face-to-face) resulting in 1322 clinical consultations. The most common diagnoses were: symptomatic irreversible pulpitis or apical periodontitis. 65% of clinical consultations resulted in extractions, 0.8% an aerosol generating procedure. Patients travelled 25km 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 6-week period. Dental preparedness for future pandemic crisis could be improved and informed by this data.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Carter E, Currie C, Asuni A, Goldsmith R, Toon G, Horridge C, Simpson S, Donnell C, Greenwood M, Walton G, Cole B, Durham J, Holliday R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Dental Journal

Year: 2020

Volume: 228

Pages: 842–848

Print publication date: 12/06/2020

Online publication date: 12/06/2020

Acceptance date: 15/05/2020

Date deposited: 15/05/2020

ISSN (print): 0007-0610

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5373

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/s41415-020-1708-2


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