Who would have thought that COVID-19 would cripple nearly every sector of the economy almost overnight? Businesses were closing almost immediately, people getting laid off, and the healthcare system overwhelmed, the list is endless.
We are witnessing a time, unlike what we have seen in modern history, where the whole world is affected by an unseen enemy. COVID-19 has cut across all lines, from race to age to wealth; no one is safe. It is not a poor man’s disease; neither is it a rich man’s disease.
Even moving forward, no one can accurately project the trajectory of the pandemic and its effects.
One of the industries affected by COVID-19, among transport, tourism, entertainment, and the hotel industry, is dentistry.
Dentistry is facing its darkest moment yet, with the continual spread of the coronavirus. Alongside other healthcare providers, dental surgeons are at the highest risk of spreading and contracting the disease.
Let’s peer into some of the effects of COVID-19 on dentistry.
Dental practices across the nation have been closed for some time now, and it is difficult to know the extent of the severity of this decision. Others are trying to reopen putting new infection control measures in place.
In March, the health authorities asked all dental practices to cease seeing patients, except for an emergency.
There was a decline in revenue, meaning that the sustenance of the practices and the professional future of dental practitioners is a grave concern.
Rentals and wages have to be accounted for every month, even if the revenue has dipped.
Also, there is the risk of being a source of transmission of the virus since the virus’s primary mode of transmission is person to person via droplets or contact.
Other than droplets that can be spread when an infected person sneezes, speaks, or coughs, there are the dental procedures that also aid in the spread of the virus. The use of a high-speed handpiece and other instruments can cause saliva or other secretions to aerosolize the coronavirus to the surroundings.
To curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2, we as dental practitioners have evolved and adapted to a new way of handling cases. We have to update our knowledge and skills with respect to infection control.
In this regard, we have made the following changes:
Dental appointments aren’t made the same way as before. You have to call beforehand, so as our dentist can ascertain whether your case will warrant you to come in for treatment.
Our staff will also reach out to you to reschedule any canceled appointments that were made in March and April.
Also, when you come to office appointments, ensure that you come alone. We do not allow visitors, including children and partners.
If you are experiencing a dental emergency, please contact our office that our dentist may direct you on what to do next. If it is after hours, you can call our dentist directly and try to as much as possible to limit the calls to true dental emergencies.
When you are scheduling an appointment, our staff will screen you for COVID-19 symptoms, recent travel, recent contacts with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 persons.
Dental practices, including ours, have reinvested to purchase quality and complete PPE (personal protective equipment) as directed by the CDC. Also, there is the purchase of other things like single-use chair covers, which will aid in maintaining strict sterilization and hygiene.
When you get to our practice, call us when you are in your car so as we can give you the green-light to come into the office. This is done to ensure that you move into the treatment room quickly.
Upon arrival, you will wash your hands, your temperature will be taken, and we will get an oxygen saturation reading.
Our administrative staff will be wearing masks when they are interacting with you. We also ask that when you come to our office, make sure you wear a regular face mask. Once you get in the treatment room, it will be safe for you to remove the mask.
Our treatment room has extensive infection control procedures and HEPA air filtration equipment in place.
No one can deny the challenges that dental practitioners face and the sacrifices they have made to keep the lights on. However, humanity was built to last, so eventually, we will be back in full swing.
If you need assistance or are in an emergency, you can call us at Friedler Dental Group, and we would love to help.