This comes as figures show an increase in late-stage diagnosis for head and neck cancers in Northern Ireland.
The number of people diagnosed with oral cancer in Northern Ireland has increased by more than 80% between 1993 and 2018. The relative spike is greater among women than men.
Professor Gerry McKenna is chair of BDA NI Hospitals Group. He said: ‘The data confirms the significant impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on reduced head and neck cancer detection and referrals.
‘Later-stage diagnosis in the wake of what has been traditionally a less than optimal picture by way of detection and diagnosis.
‘It’s important we put this into context. A large proportion of our head and neck cancer patients are not patients who are struggling to attend their general dental practice. They are people who do not (and have never) engaged with health services generally, hence the history of late presentation.’