Tag Archive for: frontline

Jane and Dexter Brown on Dentistry in Lockdown

Last autumn, Dexter Brown wrote an article about Dentistry during the Covid pandemic.
As we interviewed his wife Jane at Church Coffee Online today to ask how things were going (find the link below), we are publishing the article here again:

Lockdown and restart: a dentist’s perspective

By Dexter Brown

(Dentist Jane wearing surgical gown, mask, visor and gloves)

On the 23rd of March, I saw my last dental patient and locked up the surgery. The doors did not open again until 9th June. Dental problems did not go away but dental surgeries were told to close and all we could do was give the three A’s: Advice, Analgesics (painkillers) and Antibiotics, as physical contact with patients was prohibited. I spoke to over 60 patients during this period, with issues ranging from minor problems to serious infections.

It felt so medieval in such a modern high-tech profession and era to be resorting to basic DIY dentistry. I guided patients who had sharp and broken teeth to file off edges with nail files. I talked an elderly shielding lady through extracting her very mobile lower tooth and how to deal with the bleeding. She was developing a spreading infection in her face and was terrified of leaving her home for care. Removing the tooth resolved the issue.

One gentleman had a crown (cap) which had come off a tooth. I talked him through how he could correctly relocate it back into his mouth – he practiced and was able to do so. He came to the surgery and collected dental cement for use at home. He called back later to relay that the procedure had ended in disaster and that he now needed a plumber not a dentist. In the course of trying to recement the crown, whilst he was looking in his bathroom mirror, the crown slipped from his fingers, fell down the sink plug hole and lodged itself in the U-bend!

As Covid-19 is a respiratory disease and the virus is therefore present in the mouth, it may be transferred to the atmosphere of the surgery through drilling. Protocols have been developed which require a surgery to be left for an hour after treatment, to allow aerosol to settle. Then every exposed surface in the room has to be wiped down and disinfected. This has slowed the through-put of patients, and where our practice saw up to 30 people a day, we are currently seeing a maximum of 10.

Dentistry has always been a highly clinical and safe place to visit, and I can reassure you that this remains the case today.


At today’s Church Coffee Online we spoke to Jane about life in lockdown. You can catch up here: