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Acute dental problems – COVID-19

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, SDCEP provided several resources to support practices when there were severe restrictions on the care that could be provided. Since 1 November 2020, the General Dental Service in Scotland has been able to provide a full range of dental treatment for registered NHS patients. Consequently, the following resources are no longer extant and have been removed from the website.

  • Management guide – 30 March 2020
  • Drugs supplement – updated 11 May 2020
  • Practice closure guide – updated 30 April 2020

These resources are available on request.

About these resources

The Management of Acute Dental Problems During COVID-19 Pandemic guide, based on the SDCEP Emergency Dental Care and Management of Acute Dental Problems guidance publications, describes modified management of commonly presenting oral conditions for use during the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to encourage a consistent approach to the management of acute dental problems, while recognising the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presents for provision of dental care.

The guide is for use by dental teams involved in triaging and managing patients during the current situation. It can be used in conjunction with health board or other local procedures that have been established for managing patients based on their COVID-19 status.

The guide includes:

  • General principles
  • A flowchart of the triage of commonly presenting dental problems
  • A table of the common oral conditions likely to present to dental care

The Drugs for the Management of Dental Problems During COVID-19 Pandemic supplement has been updated in response to feedback. It now:

  • provides more detailed advice on contraindications and cautions for analgesics and antibiotics in two new appendices
  • clarifies the definition of optimal analgesia
  • includes volumes for oral preparations of analgesic doses for children
  • emphasises that antibiotics are not indicated in the absence of swelling or other signs of infection


The management guide and drugs supplement are based on published SDCEP guidance, adapted for the extraordinary circumstances imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources have been developed by the SDCEP guidance development team in consultation with a range of experienced and expert dental and pharmacy professionals.

SDCEP gratefully acknowledges the wide range of colleagues who have participated in the development of these resources for their invaluable and rapid contributions.

The development of these resources is summarised in a poster [PDF], which was presented at the NHS Education for Scotland Annual Conference in May 2021.

Any feedback may be directed to

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