Dental practices will be allowed to reopen within a fortnight.

England's Chief Dental Officer Sara Hurley said on Thursday that practices can reopen for face-to-face care from Monday June 8, but they must have the right coronavirus infection control measures and personal protective equipment.

It is up to individual practices to decide exactly when they will reopen after June 8, Ms Hurley added.

In the joint letter with Matt Neligan, NHS England director of primary care and system transformation, the chief dental officer wrote: "We support the full resumption of routine dental care, in a way that is safe, operationally deliverable and allows dental practices flexibility to do what is best for patients and their teams."

Dentists are advised to give prority to urgent need and vulnerable patients.

The British Dental Association union has welcomed the plans but warned practices will likely have to operate at one third of their pre-pandemic capacity, while the low availibility of PPE may cause delays.

The BDA has called for the Government to include dentistry in its wider PPE strategy to help a universal return to full dental care, as well as financial support including a business rates holiday.

BDA chair Mick Armstrong said: "A return of high street dentistry we will be welcome news to millions of patients left with few options during lockdown, but key questions remain.

"It is right to allow practices to decide themselves when they are ready to open.

"Dentists will be keen to start providing care as soon as safely possible, but we will need everyone to be patient as practices get up and running.

"Dentist can open their doors but won't be able to provide a full range of care without the necessary kit.

"Longer term, practices can only stay afloat with ongoing support, while social distancing continues and the costs of providing care are sky-high.

"Opening the floodgates risks raising false expectations, unless Government is willing to step up and help."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "During this global pandemic, there has been a huge worldwide demand for PPE, and despite this the government has delivered over 1.5 billion items of PPE equipment.

"We are working around the clock to ensure frontline healthcare staff - including those at the 500 NHS urgent dental centres - have the PPE they need.

"Dentistry is on the supply priority list and we have established new distribution routes for the sector to ensure continuity of supply across all urgent dental care centres."