Dental Service during the COVID-19 Pandemic


Hey, we all know that this pandemic has changed the face of many businesses and services. Among these services, the dental service had been hard hit as it invariably carries the risk of Covid-19 infection due to the specificity of its procedures, which involves face-to-face communication with patients, and frequent exposure to saliva, blood, and other body fluids, and the handling of sharp instruments.


The British Dental council has predicted that 1 in 5 clinics may be closed if this situation exceeds anymore. Well, the situation in our country will be even worse. Let’s face the reality here, In India, many individuals still consider dental treatment a luxury because it is an expensive treatment. This reflects even in state budgets in which hardly 1 to 1.5 percent of the healthcare budget is kept for Dental care. The hard truth is this, the treatments are going to be far more expensive in order to keep moving forward safely.


For example, we can take the numbering facts from the state of Karnataka, there are roughly 26,000 practicing dental doctors in Karnataka though the number of registered dentists with the Karnataka dental council is almost 48000 and every year the state adds 2800 to 3000 fresh dental graduates. These numbers indicate that it can lead to the enormous spread of the disease if not practiced with proper protocols. We are talking about the lives at stake which includes lives Doctors, patients, support staff, and their respective members of their family.


So, in order to keep this under control, the transmission of this virus has to be eliminated.

  • Direct Transmission

  • Indirect Transmission

The virus can be transmitted in dental settings through inhalation of airborne microorganisms that can remain suspended in the air for long periods, direct contact with blood, oral fluids, or other patient materials, contact of conjunctival, nasal, or oral mucosa with droplets and aerosols containing microorganisms generated from an infected individual and propelled a short distance by coughing and talking without a mask, and indirect contact with contaminated instruments or environmental surfaces.


Dentists who treat patients using aerosolization are at an extremely dangerous risk of inoculation of themselves, their dental assistants, other office staff members, and the re-inoculation of the patients. Most risk occurs from splatter and droplet transmission to the midface of the dentist and assistant, as well as the nasal area of the patient. In addition, periodontal treatment has a much higher incidence of droplet transmission than prosthetic treatment. Ultrasonic and sonic transmission during nonsurgical procedures had the highest incidence of particle transmission, followed by air polishing, air/water syringe, and high-speed handpiece aerosolization.


The following precaution should be taken on these areas as per the protocols of IDA or any government organization:


1.Ventilation and air quality management in stand-alone dental clinics

2.Clinic entrance, reception, and waiting

3.Dedicated area for sterilization and disinfection

4.Washrooms

5. Guidelines for patients

6.Equipment and instrumentation

  • Fumigation systems

  • High volume extra oral suction

  • The indoor air cleaning system

  • The dental chair water lines should be equipped with anti- retraction valves

  • Used handpieces with anti-retraction valves only

  • Chemicals required for disinfection

  • Appropriate PPE and ensure it is accessible to HCW.

  • Maintain a supply of all consumables related to PPE, Sterilisation, and Disinfection

Patients should also be given some guidelines which are as follows

  • Each person entering the clinic should be checked for temperature and only then permitted inside.

  • All patients and persons accompanying will have to wear face masks, gloves, foot covers, and head caps that they will provide at the sanitization stations. 

  • Request everyone to wear newly washed clothing and come via private transport directly from their homes without any stops in between. 

  • If they have any symptoms or travel history, they need to inform prior to arrival.


Taking all these considerations in the post-pandemic scenario, if the dentist wishes to start a new clinic it will cost up to 8 to 10 lakhs whereas for dentists who already own a clinic need to invest 3 to 4 lakhs for precautionary measures.


However, following all recommendations will reduce exposure and add a layer of protection in an already exposed environment. We wish you stay proactive, informed, and calm, to provide patients with the best dental care you have always provided. Stay safe out there, ZEPNURhealth is just a click away to cater to all your dental needs.


 

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