With COVID-19 vaccinations beginning in Pakistan, dentists are entering a critical phase in this pandemic along with the rest of the healthcare services.
-by Dr Muntaha Tariq
Dentists are the ones who are at the highest risk of contracting coronavirus, even more than nurses or paramedics. As dentists are in direct contact with the saliva of the patient during any intra-oral examination. Even for the simplest restorative treatment, the dentist has to use an ultrasonic hand-piece which is a major source of aerosol production. These aerosols are the most important vector for the spread of COVID.
Dentists at the risk of COVID
Not only dentists but the whole staff present in the clinic or hospital is at the risk for COVID exposure. Although dentists are trying their best to save themselves from COVID exposure. By considering every patient as COVID positive, dentists are making every effort in following WHO precautions. But still, human errors are there and nobody is fully perfect. So we can’t say that by following all precautions dentists are 100 percent safe.
COVID: Gauging the safety to visit the dentist
As life is important for everyone and it’s mandatory to take care of it. So every dentist, dental staff member, and even a dental student who is examining the patients should get vaccinated. So that neither a dentist will be the source to spread it nor will be the victim of it. God forbid, if a dentist or the patient is a source of coronavirus it will result in the exposure of other’s family too and thus the vicious cycle goes on.
COVID Vaccine: A ‘new’ beam of hope?
Now with the availability of the COVID vaccine in Pakistan, it should be mandatory for the dentists and the respective staff to get vaccinated first. Still, we can’t rely only on vaccines at present till the time we are sure about the results 100 percent. It’s better to be vaccinated and follow the precautionary measures as much as possible to protect every visiting person in the dental area.
The process of COVID Vaccination
There should be some government policy so that checks and balances can be maintained. And every working dentist should be vaccinated now without any delay. There should be a gap of 14 to 15 days at-least between 1st and 2nd injections for the immune system to be responsive. 2nd injection is also mandatory as no studies are yet available that favor the long-term protection after only one dose of vaccine.
-The author is contributing writer at Dental News Pakistan and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org