From Friday 29 April people living in Somerset, who are not registered with a dental practice, should call NHS 111 if they need urgent treatment or advice.
Following an initial call with a call handler, the person may be put through to a dental nurse who will advise on next steps. This could range from general self-care advice to an urgent appointment being booked within 48 hours.
People should call 111 if they are suffering with severe dental pain that cannot be controlled with over the counter medication or have a dental or soft tissue infection.
Welcoming the news, Dr Peter Wilson, Commissioning Medical Director at NHS England and NHS Improvement South West, said:
“The new service will benefit the people of Somerset and supports the process of accessing urgent dental treatment.
“With the introduction of a dental nurse people can feel confident they are receiving advice from a healthcare professional in that field.”
The new helpline will be operated by Smile Dental Triage Ltd, a clinically led specialist in dental triage, who have provided a high-quality service for more than 15 years.
The new service will operate from 8am until 10pm, 365 days a year.
The old helpline number will no longer be in use from 10pm, Thursday 28 April. A voice message will ask anyone who calls to redial NHS 111.
Who should someone call if they want to be added to a dental practice’s list?
In Somerset, people should visit the NHS website to find a dental practice taking patients or call their local dental practice and ask to be added to their waiting list.
What should someone do if they are registered with a dental practice and require urgent treatment?
If someone is registered with a dental practice and requires urgent treatment, they should call their practice who will discuss the situation and may offer an urgent appointment.