FGDP(UK) & CGDent launch UK guidelines for safe return to general dental practice during COVID-19

1 June 2020

The FGDP(UK) and newly formed College of General Dentistry have convened an expert task force to review the evidence base for dental practice during the COVID-19 outbreak and have today launched the official guidelines ‘Implications of COVID-19 for the safe management of general dental practice – a practical guide’.

The UK wide task force panel includes 30 senior members of a number of organisations, including the British Dental Association, the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, the Association of Dental Groups, the Association of Dental Implantology and the newly-formed British Association of Private Dentistry and has received support and input from groups across the profession including the British Society of Dental Hygiene & Therapy and the British Association of Dental Nurses. It supports dental professionals to take a risk and evidence-based approach to providing safe care in the current circumstances and allows the flexibility of setting minimum requirements whatever the national COVID-19 threat level.

Ian Mills, Dean of FGDP(UK) comments “During the initial stages of the pandemic it was important that all but emergency dentistry procedures were paused. However, we are now at a point where the risk to the oral health of the population will be impacted unless practices are able to reopen, albeit with the correct protection for patients and the dental team.

This guidance has been developed as a framework to enable the confident and safe return to practice, now and also into the future as the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve. It is the result of the collaborative effort of a team of dedicated individuals from across the profession who have spent the last few weeks committed to reviewing the evidence, assessing the risks and finding a way forward.”

In line with other FGDP(UK) Guidance and Standards publications, the guidance adopts the ABC (Aspirational, Basic, Conditional) approach to measures with ‘basic’ measures being a minimum standard.

The guidance is divided into five sections – four of which reflect the patient journey and the fifth concerns general management of the practice. These sections are assigned a risk status and ABC based risk mitigation measures to ensure safe practice and include:

  • I.Pre-appointment – including the important role of digital communication to minimise contact time
  • II.Patient attendance (pre-treatment) – including the communication of new infection control and prevention procedures to patients along with changes to waiting areas
  • III.During treatment - including recommendations for approaches to aerosol generated exposures (AGEs), developed using a model based on risk continuum and recommendations for appropriate levels of PPE
  • IV.After treatment – including procedures to protect patients and staff and the use of an appropriate fallow period following high risk AGEs
  • V.Management/governance tasks – including risk assessments for all staff members and awareness of the need to encourage staff to monitor and support if they feel unwell

Onkar Dhanoya, Chair of the Task Group, commented “These guidelines have been developed to address the specific needs of primary dental care. This includes the recognition that whilst safety of patients and team members is the priority, closure of practices is in itself harming patients, their oral health and psychological wellbeing. The use of the risk matrix tables within the guidance allows us to reflect the varied needs of practices and the fluid nature of the current situation.”

Roshni Karia, Junior Vice Dean, FGDP(UK) comments “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought uncertainty to a number of aspects of daily life. This guidance aims to help develop specific strategies for primary dental care with a realistic approach to what can be achieved in practice. It also provides guidance for supporting patients and staff who may be in greater risk categories. By working together as a team, we can all proceed with confidence and help to sustain trust in dentistry overall.”

For further information and to access a full copy of the guidance please visit



Note to editor:

  • 1.The Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP(UK)) is based at the Royal College of Surgeons of England. It provides services to help those in general dental practice raise standards of patient care. It does this through standards setting, providing education courses and assessments, CPD, policy development, research and publications. Membership of FGDP(UK) is open to dentists and other registered dental professionals.
  • 2.The College of General Dentistry (CGDent) is the first independent college for primary care dentistry in the UK. Serving the public interest in oral health, and engaging the whole dental team, it will build on the achievements of the FGDP(UK) in setting standards for general dental care and delivering outstanding postgraduate dental education, and has a vision to achieve Royal College standing.
  • 3.For CGDent enquiries, please contact Simon Thornton-Wood, Lead Executive, on 07812 991538, or email simon.thorntonwood@cgdent.uk.
  • 4.For FGDP(UK) enquiries, please contact Jamie Woodward, Head of Professional Affairs, on 020 7869 6759 or email jwoodward@fgdp.org.uk.

Wider task force members include:

Richard Ablett Clinical Director, Association of Dental Groups
Mick Armstrong General Dental Practitioner, Chair British Dental Association
Toni Batty Dental Practice Manager, Honorary Lecturer Peninsula DS
Maria Clark Patient Representative
Vanessa Davies Independent Policy Advisor
Onkar Dhanoya Chair, General Dental Practitioner, Board Member FGDP(UK)
Jacqueline Elsden President British Association of Dental Nurses
Rebecca Harris Professor / Honorary Consultant Dental Public Health
Mick Horton General Dental Practitioner, Trustee of College of General Dentistry
Helen Kaney Lead Dento-legal Consultant & Head of Dental Services, Scotland for MPS, Board Member FGDP (UK)
Roshni Karia General Dental Practitioner, Vice-Dean FGDP (UK)
Tashfeen Kholasi General Dental Practitioner, Board Member FGDP (UK)
Jonathan Lack Specialist Periodontist
Ian Mills General Dental Practitioner, Dean FGDP(UK)
Donald McNicol General Dental Practitioner, Council Member FDS Glasgow
Govin Murugachandran Chief Executive Officer, Flynotes
Susan Nelson General Dental Practitioner, Board Member FGDP (UK)
Eimear O'Connell General Dental Practitioner, President of Association of Dental Implantology
Dominic O’Hooley General Dental Practitioner
Abhi Pal General Dental Practitioner Senior Vice Dean FGDP (UK)
Andrew Paraschchak General Dental Practitioner, Board Member FGDP (UK)
Mark Richardson Chief Dental Officer (RAF and Defence), Board Member FGDP (UK)
Diane Rochford President Elect British Society of Dental Hygiene Therapists
Jason Smithson General Dental Practitioner, Executive Committee of British Association of Private Dentistry
Sami Stagnell General Dental Practitioner, Specialist Oral Surgeon, Board Member FGDP (UK)
Suzanne Sykes Special Care Dentist, Board Member GDP (UK)
Phil Taylor Professor of Prosthodontics, Dean Elect of FDS Edinburgh,
Chet Trivedy Consultant in Emergency Medicine
Jason Wong General Dental Practitioner, LDN Chair


Editors Notes




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The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) is a nationally recognised body that represents over 4,000 Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists across the UK and beyond.

BSDHT maintain an on-going dialogue with the General Dental Council (GDC), the Departments of Health and all of the main groups representing dental care professionals, and attends meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dentistry, bringing dental hygiene and therapy to the attention of government ministers and MP’s.

Visit www.bsdht.org.uk for more information.

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