By Dr Anis Ur Rehman
The past few months have been nothing short of a highly challenging time for people due to Covid-19 pandemic. Businesses were affected greatly causing a feeling of impending doom on the general population. Likewise, Covid-19 has already made drastic changes in the perceptions of patients for approaching dentist and other health care providers.
Covid-19: Fear of the dentist
The current wave of Covid-19 has induced a fear within patients, regarding visiting dental practices. Most importantly, where before people would visit the dental clinic/hospital for routine checkups, consultations, appointment-based treatments etc. They now avoid doing any of those.
In fact, most of the patients only decide to go to a dentist in person if that is the last resort to relieve them from pain. That is to say, the real reason behind such apprehension is the close proximity of health care professionals to the general public. Subsequently, making them an easy target for contracting the virus. Thus creating anxiety amongst patients that renders them to defer treatment as much as possible.
To clarify, the type of response to this disease around the world has been very variable. This depends according to different healthcare systems, economies and political ideologies.
Moreover, It is reminded that dentist had the most risk than any profession in relation to Covid-19. Amidst the explosion of information available online and through social media, it is difficult to identify reliable research evidence and lay proper guidelines, but moral decisions must be made.
Nevertheless, dentists have always followed sterilization and cross infection control protocols meticulously as part of their profession, regardless of covid-19.
How to properly remedy the situation?
With the pandemic not over and a second wave of the virus looming over us, it becomes the responsibility of health care providers to maintain the general protocols and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in their clinical/hospital setups and also school patients regarding spread of the virus and possible measures to avoid it.
In conclusion, answering concerns of the public through teledentistry and providing them with an environment that makes them at ease will be a good way to allow patients to trust their dentists and consider timely dental treatment of significance even in the wake of Covid-19.
The author is contributing writer at Dental News Pakistan and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org