HAVING dental treatment with a dentist with outlets across Somerset is costing patients up to £35 more due to the coronavirus crisis.

{my}dentist is imposing the additional charge to cover the cost of personal protective equipment.

There are {my}dentists in Canon Street and Cheddon Road, Taunton; Station Road, Wellington; Symons Way, Bridgwater; Fore Street, Chard; and Abingdon Street, Burnham-on-Sea

The practices re-opened across England for patients needing urgent treatment last week following lockdown measures.

Regular dental care will be offered once those patients have been seen.

In a letter to patients, {my}dentist spokesman said: "Throughout the outbreak of Covid-19 we have been clear that there is nothing more important to us than the safety of our patients and team members.

"That is why we have introduced a range of protective measures across our practices, including using an increased level of personal protective equipment (PPE), in line with Government guidance.

"This additional PPE is necessary to keep you and our clinicians safe.

"To ensure we can continue supporting our patients however, we have had to introduce a temporary Covid Safety Supplement payable on each visit where you have a private dental treatment (excluding patients on dental plans), in common with many other dental providers.

"If you are having treatment that doesn’t include the use of certain dentistry equipment, such as a high speed drill or air scaler, the supplement for the appropriate PPE will be £7.

"However, if the dentist does need to use these tools, they can generate what we call an aerosol, or spray, that includes droplets of your saliva.

"Due to the risk of Covid-19 transmission in saliva, our teams must wear further enhanced PPE, so the supplement charge for those treatments is currently set at £35.

"Your clinician and practice team will advise you of what the Covid Safety Supplement will be for your specific treatment before your appointment."

A {my}dentist said: "The safety of our patients and colleagues is our priority, which is why we have introduced a wide range of protective measures into our practices, including an increased level of personal protective equipment (PPE) for our clinical teams.

"This advanced PPE is essential to protect the safety of all of our patients and is required by government in order for our dental practices to open. Alongside many dental providers across the country, due to the high costs of the required PPE, we have had to introduce a temporary safety supplement that will be charged to patients having private dental treatment. This supplement will not be charged to patients having NHS treatment.

"For patients who need treatment which includes the use of certain dentistry equipment, such as a high speed drill or airscaler, which can generate a spray that contains droplets of  saliva and increase the risk of Covid-19 transmission, there will be a temporary supplement charge of £35. All other patient treatments will include a temporary supplement of £7.

"We will review this safety supplement continuously to ensure it is kept as low as possible and to remove it as soon as are able to do so. We have also tried to be fully transparent in our approach so have written to all of our patients to tell them why their appointment may cost more than usual as practices return to routine dentistry."