COVID-19: Patients reluctant to seek dental treatments, clinics face voluntary closure
With the escalation of the COVID-19 crisis and new cases rising on a daily basis, it is the dental industry which is suffering the most within the healthcare industry.
Talking to Dental Tribune Pakistan, renowned dentists informed that they had shut down the practice for the past seven days. Prior to closing down the practice most of the dental clinics were offering emergency services or pain management.
With institutions having closed their OPD for all procedures except emergency treatments. The community itself has acted responsibly by shutting down their practices till things improve.
“The dental professional now agree that dentistry will no longer be the same once this crisis is over” —Prof. Ayyaz Ali Khan
A senior dentist and former president of the Pakistan Dental Association, Dr Kamran Vasfy informed that he is offering consultancy from home over the telephone to his patients and others are doing the same. However, there are some clinics that are still opened. Strict measures are observed where only one attendant per patient is allowed. On top of that, they have switched off the air-conditioning in their waiting area and now have open windows for fresh air.
Elective procedures have been stopped for the past two weeks which is not only affecting the dental professional but has put the industry at stake. With figures coming from Italy, Spain and ever growing patient numbers in the U.S., people are now becoming more aware of the havoc this virus is causing.
Dr Mervyn Hosein, principal of Ziauddin College of Dentistry, while talking to this scribe, said that earlier they were taking temperature and travel history before seeing a patient but now even that has been stopped as both the dentists and the patients are taking safety measures to avoid unnecessary exposure.
One university has put together its volunteers and started the Agaahi (Awareness) campaign for COVID-19. Volunteers of Baqai Medical University led by their dental department has joined hands with Red Crescent Society to establish a call center providing online medical help to the coronavirus patients.
The group led by Dr Talha Mofeed, Vice Principal, and Dr Ain ul Haq are doing a voluntary service long with hundreds of connecting through this call center which is running 24/7. The call center has been established with the blessings of Dr Arif Alvi, the President of Pakistan, who has offered his full support for this noble cause.
“This would be an understatement that the pandemic has taken the dental industry by surprise and nobody was prepared to fight a catastrophe of this magnitude. The dental professional now agree that dentistry will no longer be the same once this crisis is over. In times to come, we may see a dental practitioner in a space suit kind of attire fully covered from head to toe,” Prof. Ayyaz commented.