DORSET dentists are struggling with a backlog of patients, built up over the past three months.

Dental practices have been closed since the lockdown in late March and were only recently given clearance to reopen on June 8.

The three-month period of closure built up a backlog of patients whose issues were not severe enough to warrant referral to an urgent dental centre.

Dental services are reopening under strict safety guidelines to ensure the safety of both staff and patients.

The standard operating procedure was released by the Chief Dental Officer just days before reopening, so only those who had already taken the risk of ordering PPE were prepared to open on time.

Dianna Dumitriu, owner of Park Street Dental Practice in Weymouth, said: "There is a huge backlog of patients from the last three months, with all sorts of problems.

"We were unsure about when we were going to be able to reopen. It's been difficult to fit people in as we've had so many calls.

"There a lot of rules at the moment, we need to wear the protective equipment and need to make sure the rooms are thoroughly cleaned in between patients. It's all quite complicated.”

Some of the safety measures being taken include, dentists and assistants wearing a significant amount of PPE, reducing the amount of people in the premises at one time, having protective screens and testing patients’ temperature on arrival.

Mrs Dumitriu continued: "There was a lot of guesswork before opening, luckily we had already begun to prepare before we were able to reopen so we was ready quite quickly. Those of us who took a chance to stock protective equipment before we knew exactly what we needed we able to open quickly but others weren't. We weren’t given much notice.

"I've had to prioritise my own patients, unfortunately I wasn't able to accept any new patients. We have also prioritised the most urgent cases, if they were in a lot of pain we would try to see them as quickly as possible.

"We are trying to arrange the appointments as best we can, sometimes we even have to rearrange the day before but people have been very understanding and helpful."