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Future of Dentistry – Challenges and Opportunities Post-COVID-19

KARACHI: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe, it is important to stick together during this difficult time. Dental News Pakistan is paving the wave by initiating meaningful conversations with experts from across the world in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dental News Pakistan, a pioneer in the world of dental education, recently conducted a live virtual session discussing the future of dentistry in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The dental community has been at a loss internationally. For this reason, we at Dental News Pakistan considered it important to address the problems on an international scale as well.

Various experts from the dental fraternity participated in the first of its kind session that discussed the challenges and opportunities following the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was in collaboration with Next Level Dentistry. Dr Muattar Hanif successfully moderated the live session.

The live session was watched all over the world with over 15k views.

The keynote speaker for the event, Dr Eve Cuny, Director of Environmental Health and Safety and Associate Professor, Assistant Dean for Global Relations at University of the Pacific, Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco. Member of the National Occupational Research Agenda Council, and reviewer and subject matter expert for CDC noted that this is the perfect opportunity for us to review guidelines and recommendations for infection prevention and what we might do differently when the world gets back to normal, and we can resume our regular lives. This pandemic has taught us a valuable lesson about the importance of vigilance with infection prevention as a whole and not just during a pandemic.

Previously, we never asked our patients whether they have a history of any respiratory illness. We should understand if our patients have any disease that may be transmitted via airborne droplets, said Dr Cuny.

When we do come back, we can discuss how we can improve infection control in the workplace. We should make it a part of our weekly discussions where people get a chance to brainstorm different ideas pertaining to the topic so as to enforce innovations in the field as well, noted Dr Cuny.

Ms Bryony Lowe, Implant Nurse/Treatment Coordinator and Infection control Course Tutor at Kings College Dental Education Centre.

noted that it is our individual responsibility to seek as much information as we can on a day-to-day basis. Our standard protocols are very good at dealing with blood-borne pathogens. Taking respiratory illness into consideration is an integral step we must take as healthcare providers.

We must upgrade our standardized PPE and provide training to ensure their proper usage; otherwise, they would be of no use, quoted Ms Lowe.

Dr Kashif Hafeez, Membership and Fellowship from Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland and has been honored with Fellowship from Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh noted that patients should go through the international guidelines to assess whether they fall into that emergency patient category. We cannot put our workers at further risk at this time.

Earlier, we used to be worried about contracting diseases from our patients. The COVID-19 has brought us to an era when the patient is afraid of us as well, he said.

Dr Aqib Mudassar, Founder Next Level Dentistry stated that during this challenging time, it is essential to acknowledge the possibility of cross-infection control compromise. Some people, unfortunately, will not go the extra mile to ensure patient safety. Our priority investment at this time should be PPEs, he stated.

Dr Allen Nazeri, Founder and Executive chairman of Nazeri & Company Co. Ltd, a firm focused on Healthcare Advisory, Consulting, Investment Banking, and the CEO of Dr. Allen Nazeri Healthcare Advisory Group, based in Bangkok, Hong Kong & Las Vegas reminded everyone that they would survive this time and emerge stronger. Financially speaking, the global economy is suffering.

This time is not about competition but cooperation. We must think of ways we can work together for the greater good by sharing resources at this difficult time. I believe after this pandemic subsides, group practices will prosper, said Dr Nazeri.

Dr Kashif Ikram, Principal of Baqai Dental College and Specialist in Oral Medicine and Implantology noted that until we do not learn the importance and protocols of infection control, we will not be able to provide adequate healthcare to our patients. The current threat, aside from contracting the virus, is the lack of business and subsequent financial losses. Invest in your practice depending on the need of the hour. We should adopt a scientific approach to deal with this issue.

A Q&A session with the viewers followed the live session. The experts lauded the efforts of Dental News Pakistan to initiate a discussion at this level.

-Dr Sonia Sameen, Sub-Editor, Dental News Pakistan

April 21, 2020

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