We all are aware of the fact that Coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected our day to day lives, our businesses and is slowing down the global economy too. Know what is the “new normal” in dentistry.
According to WHO emergencies doctor, Michael Ryan, “The new coronavirus may never go away and populations around the world will have to learn to live with it”.
We have no idea when this situation is going to end, and this is the “New Normal”. We have to learn to live it.
Dentists are reopening their practices, because all the dental problems can’t be managed through tele consultation always. Dental care is sometimes urgent and dallying can make things worse. However, dental clinics are taking all the necessary precautions and safety measures within their clinic premises.
Dr. Nilay Bhatia, B.D.S, PGAD, is a renowned dentist in Gurgaon and a Principal dentist at Cosmodontist Dental and Implant Centre and a member of American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry says dental pain is the worst of all pains and if not treated on time can lead to severe problems.
How are Dental Practices coping up with these Unprecedented times?
The Government of India has issued guidelines for dental professionals in COVID-19 pandemic situation. According to them, dentists, auxiliaries as well as patients undergoing dental procedures are at a higher risk of cross-infection. Most dental procedures require close contact with the patient’s oral cavity, saliva, blood and respiratory tract secretions. Saliva is rich in COVID-19 viral load. Therefore, it is suggested that all patients visiting a dental practice must be treated with due precaution. Source: www.mohfw.gov.in
Zones and Dental Clinics
- The dental clinics will remain closed in the CONTAINMENT ZONE; however, they can continue to provide tele triage. Patients in this zone can seek ambulance services to travel to the nearby COVID Dental Facility.
- In the RED ZONE, Emergency dental procedures can be performed.
- The dental clinics in ORANGE AND GREEN ZONE will function to provide dental consults. Dental operations should be restricted to Emergency and Urgent treatment procedures only.
- All routine and elective dental procedures should be deferred for a later review until new policy/guidelines are issued.
- Due to the high risk associated with the examination of the oral cavity, oral cancer screening under National Cancer Screening program should be deferred until new policy/guidelines are issued.
What is the “New Normal” in Dentistry?
Dental practices are following all the guidelines issued by the Govt. of India and here’s what you can expect when you visit any dentist post lockdown:
- Book Online Appointment: It’s better to book your appointment first rather than going directly to the dentist. Because doctors are treating patients on prior appointments only. You can book your appointment online by visiting the dentist’s website or by calling on the contact number mentioned on their website or any digital channel. Some practices are offering tele consultations also if your problem is not that much severe. So, it’s better to have a word with them before heading to the dental office.
- Precautionary Measures of Safety of Patients: Patients are asked to sanitize their hands, they are given a new 3 layered mask, gloves, head cap etc. at the time of entrance. Their body temperature is checked using no-contact thermometer at reception. They are requested not to carry any unnecessary items like bags, laptops or any other thing. They are asked to visit alone if possible.
- Hygiene Standards at Clinic Premises: Dental Practices are maintaining a strict hygiene within their clinic premises. Treatment areas are being sanitized with high strength disinfectants, covering all contact points such as handles, computer keypad, etc. with proper and disposable coverings. Electronic or digital payments are highly encouraged to reduce physical contact.
- Precautionary Measures taken during Dental Procedures: Dental practices are making sure that all the instruments like mirror, probes etc. are packed separately for each patient and are sterilized using dry heat sterilizer (autoclave). They are making sure to use disposable items wherever possible to avoid any transmission of virus.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives completely and it’s very unlikely to get the “old normal” back. We have to live with the current situation. Our focus should be to keep ourselves healthy as much as we can. New research by the Oral Health Foundation shows staying at home has led to more than one-in-three (38%) British adults increasing the amount of times they are snacking throughout the day. Snacking can have serious repercussions on our oral health. Whenever we eat or drink anything, plaque bacteria builds up in the mouth. And this produces acids that attack our teeth, causing tooth decay and or any other dental problems. Therefore, it’s necessary that you maintain and follow good oral care habits at home. For more information about new normal in dentistry you can refer to WHO website.