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Table of Contents
EDITORIAL
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 55-56

COVID-19 and its impact on dental health-care professionals


Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, SRM Dental College, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission14-Aug-2021
Date of Acceptance24-Aug-2021
Date of Web Publication31-Aug-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Selvanathan M J. Vinola
Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, SRM Dental College, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Ramapuram, Chennai - 600 089, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jid.jid_32_21

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How to cite this article:
Sekar M, Vinola SM. COVID-19 and its impact on dental health-care professionals. J Interdiscip Dentistry 2021;11:55-6

How to cite this URL:
Sekar M, Vinola SM. COVID-19 and its impact on dental health-care professionals. J Interdiscip Dentistry [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 5];11:55-6. Available from: https://www.jidonline.com/text.asp?2021/11/2/55/325107



The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a significant toll on several fields, with dentistry being one of the most affected. This editorial outlines the heavier impacts of COVID-19 outbreak on dental health-care professionals. Further, this editorial emphasizes on adoption of strict standard operating protocols for health-care professionals to combat the COVID-19 disease transmission.

Dentistry is facing its time of strenuous survival, with the outburst of the COVID pandemic. After the publications of dental academics in Wuhan, China, the response of the dental professionals and its impact on them became an eminent and petrifying entity in the field of dentistry.[1],[2],[3],[4] This report, outlined the immediate impact that the COVID-19 outbreak currently had on dental health-care professionals and also on the massive impacts it might have on the profession of dentistry. Dental surgeons are at extreme risk of contracting and transmitting the coronavirus, alongside paramedics, nurses, and other health-care workers.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), dentists work in close proximity to the patient's oral cavity and are therefore placed in very high exposure risk category.[5],[6] Since it is a known fact that dental procedures commonly generate blood and saliva droplets resulting in the spread of the virus, the American Dental Association (ADA) suggested dental practitioners globally to limit their interventions to emergency treatments.[7] Likewise, the department of health and dental organizations of affected countries also appealed the dentists to postpone nonurgent dental procedures.[8] The dentists were advised to only treat pain and sepsis, using the strictest infection and transmission control protocol. Irrespective of aerosol production, other emergencies such as bleeding following dental procedures, oral cancers, and fractures were advised to be treated.[9],[10]

During the first wave of COVID-19, dental clinics across the country were nonfunctional for over 5 months which led to disrupted dental services to the patients and tremendous depletion in the economy of dentists. In the first phase of the pandemic in particular, the aseptic protocols and recommended protective materials were not accessible, and blueprints were missing to provide clear guidance for dentists. In addition, the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) complicated the working environment for dentists during the first wave. In the USA, a survey involving 20,000 US dentists reported that nine out of ten dental practices had less than a quarter of their typical patient volume, with 82% of dental practices having had less than a quarter of typical income and revenue.[11]

Despite meticulous and stern global containment and curfew efforts, the incidence of COVID-19 still prevails and has led to the outbreak of the second wave. In India, the second wave of COVID is destructive in nature being a threat to life and economy, with devastating cases causing drastic increase beyond measure. However, even at these hard times, most of the dental practitioners were well prepared ahead and have successfully worked through the pandemic without getting infected, by following proper protocols given by the WHO, OSHA, and ADA. Even though it is a chaotic situation for dentistry that shall continue till the development and availability of a long-lasting, permanent, and efficient vaccination, it gives positivity and hope to find our colleagues and friends triumph in their dental practice over all the obstacles caused by the pandemic.

It is at these hard times we as dentists should labor in finding better solutions to keep our much-needed profession thrive among the frontline of health care. As doctors, it is our responsibility to take care of our patients in case of need during this pandemic. We should care for our patients through online consultation, with reduced contact, restricting the generation of aerosols, by using PPE and by following all the aseptic protocols. In this difficult situation, it is our duty and morale to support the members of our fraternity including our students and staffs. We should give prime attention to our own mental and physical well-being as well as helping each other to cope up the situation. Always remember, the good news of the coming back to normal of the routine dental care in many countries around the world is a ray of hope. Let's not lose hope “Change is the only constant.” Let's embrace it with the strong belief that this too will pass.



 
   References Top

1.
Meng L, Hua F, Bian Z. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Emerging and future challenges for dental and oral medicine. J Dent Res 2020;99:481-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Peng X, Xu X, Li Y, Cheng L, Zhou X, Ren B. Transmission routes of 2019-nCoV and controls in dental practice. Int J Oral Sci 2020;12:9.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Coulthard P. The oral surgery response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Keep calm and carry on? Oral Surg 2020;13:95-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Coulthard P. Dentistry and coronavirus (COVID-19) – Moral decision-making. Br Dent J 2020;228:503-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Dental Settings during the COVID-19 Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA; 2019. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/dental-settings.html. [Last accessed 2021 Apr 06].  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Wax RS, Christian MD. Practical recommendations for critical care and anesthesiology teams caring for novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) patients. Can J Anaesth 2020;67:568-76.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
ADA. Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit: American Dental Association; 2020. Available from: https://success.ada.org/~/media/CPS/Files/Open%20Files/ADA_Return_to_Work_Toolkit.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Jul 23].  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Wood NH. COVID-19: An opportunity for oral healthcare to define its own future in South Africa. SADJ 2020;75:172.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
10.
CDC. Guidance for Dental Settings: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; June 17, 2020. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/dental-settings.html. [Last accessed 2021 May 13].  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
ADA News. HPI Poll Examines Impact of COVID-19 on Dental Practices. Published on 01 April, 2020. Availablefrom: https://www. ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2020-archive/april/hpi-poll-examines-impact-of-covid-19-on-dental-practices. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 14].  Back to cited text no. 11
    




 

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