The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Dental Practice
September 13, 2021
The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the healthcare system, particularly dental treatment. COVID-19, which is caused by the coronavirus that causes an acute respiratory syndrome, is assumed to transmit by close contact through droplets in the air as well as aerosols. Dentistry is considered to be linked to the nosocomial transmission of infection due to unique aspects of dental treatment like aerosol production and close contact with patients. Because of the potential of infection spreading in both directions between patients and dental care professionals, it’s important to take extra precautions to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
We spoke to dentists, who are performing anti wrinkle injections, concerning this issue and they say “It’s critical to realize that the standards for delivering dental care during the COVID-19 pandemic will differ from country to country, therefore dental offices should follow their area recommendations.”
The dentists and the patient will be in close touch for the majority of dental procedures. The dentist and other personnel may be exposed to bodily fluids like the patient’s saliva and blood during these operations. Piercing and high-speed cutting instruments are utilized in some instances. Furthermore, because dental treatments necessitate the use of high-speed equipment that warms the water, the aerosol is emitted into the environment. The following are the ways in which the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted dental practice.
Decrease in Income
The most significant impact of the pandemic on dental offices according to research findings, has been a decrease in income. Because dentists were unable to practice during the initial lockout, income suffered the most. But, as we reach the end of the pandemic’s first year, it has become clear that dentistry is a critical service, and offices have been able to stay open despite further lockdowns. Whereas many dentists anticipate income declines will persist to be a struggle in 2021, you may be certain that dental offices will be able to care for patients without having to close completely.
In addition, one-quarter of dentists believe their output levels will be greater this year as compared to 2020, and more than half believe they will not have to change the products or treatments they provide.
Despite the various drawbacks brought on by the COVID-19 epidemic, most studies reveal that dentists have found methods to adapt and thrive such as using the services of a dental marketing company. They can help to boost the dentists office visibility online and ultimately to welcome new patients into the office. More than a third of dentists felt prepared for the second wave, maintaining the processes learned during the previous year.
The inability for patients to access dental services
Dental treatment is postponed for a number of reasons, including dental office shutdown, a fear of seeking care throughout a pandemic, the loss of employer-sponsored dental medical insurance, as well as other issues.
Routine dental check ups give chances to deliver preventative oral health care (such as fluoride therapy and sealants) as well as discover oral symptoms of systemic disease that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Failure to access dental practice can also result in undiagnosed tooth decay or even other diseases. This leaves individuals with little feasible choice other than to seek an emergency hospital where treatment is expensive and more essential requirements might be neglected, particularly during this pandemic. Furthermore, many emergency rooms lack the personnel and equipment necessary to offer final dental care and instead supply clients with temporary solutions including medications for pain and/or infection relief until final treatment can be delivered elsewhere.
Introduction of telehealth services
Many dentists serve their patients virtually with telehealth services throughout the lockdown. Tele-dentistry consists of the use of phones, photographs, videos, to simplify the delivery of dental treatment as well as oral health services and support, which involves the interchange of medical data and pictures over distant distances for dental consultations and preparation. The patient needs to have mobile and Internet connectivity in order to engage in teledentistry.
A cloud-based teledentistry system is crucial for most dentists since it allows for real-time connection with patients. This is also where a patient’s medical record and photographs are collected.
Tele-dentistry consultation services might include problem-focused as well as medical emergency assessments of the patient’s condition (e.g., acute swelling/suffering). Follow-up following dental visits may also involve patient trials for symptoms of COVID-19.
Due to payment limitations, state laws, and the impression that dental treatment needs in-person appointments, teledentistry has not really been extensively accepted by healthcare professionals in the past. The majority of current teledentistry research is on how it may be utilized in public health. There are several concepts for teledentistry, one of which involves a dental hygienist setting up a temporary dental practice, such as in a school or senior center. Dentists, on the other hand, have turned to a methodology that does not involve an in-person middleman during the epidemic.
Change in a workflow pattern
Even though not specifically needed for safe dental care during the COVID-19 pandemic in the revised recommendations, dentists may need to modify the pattern for their workflow or reorganize clinical layout in addition to maintaining appropriate extra personal protective equipment (PPE). The CDC offers comprehensive details about PEP concerns and associated procurement problems. These modifications might lead to higher expenses. Wearing EPI can also be unpleasant and physically difficult in the essential PPE procedures.
Providers could also face a difficult balancing act between a huge backlog of clients who had been in the middle of treatment when state or municipal directives forced shutdown and patients with new, unfulfilled urgent requirements, prompting them to explore extending their practice hours. These circumstances can lead to a number of problems, including a wish to minimize patient exposure, tiredness, burnout, and reduction of procedural time, which can lay the way for greater dental failure. Active mistakes of knowledge (e.g. misdiagnosis), active rule-based mistakes (e.g. missing directions) can all compromise the standards and security of patients.
The pandemic put a strain on all healthcare workers and has had an impact on how health care is delivered across the world. It is necessary to comprehend the influence on various healthcare providers in various nations. We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of the primary effects of covid on dental practice.