The global pandemic has completely altered our access to availing healthcare. The ease of the virus transmission had led to a temporary halt for many essential health services, dentistry being no exception. With the world gradually moving towards entering the post-pandemic phase, these services have started functioning with ramped up safety measures. Likewise, other medical services in the zone of dentistry too have been impacted but the return-to-practice roadmap for oral healthcare might be very different in the unlock phase. Oral practices are acclimatising how they work in and around a patient’s mouth to account for this complicated reality. Dental experts are screening patients for the virus symptoms, keeping the number of appointments in a day to a minimum, executing strict sanitation protocols in the clinic and are wearing more shielding equipment to safeguard against the respiratory ailment.
Skilled oral experts are playing an integral part in facilitating patients to access the necessary oral care they require, safely and responsibly while remaining watchful to the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. But the major worry that still continues to ponder the mind of the patients is what oral health care will mean post the crisis. Although dental professionals are focusing on developing physical distancing protocols and other measures that deliver essential safety levels for all including restored air filtration and more PPE, there are certain things that patients need to keep in mind before they plan their next dental visit:
Identifying the severity of your dental pain
While most dental procedures can be executed safely, the major question that patients must consider is whether your tooth pain is bearable enough for you to postpone your dental visit. So, if you have been contemplating to consult an oral practitioner, you should consider whether you actually need treatment right now or you can put off a treatment for the time being. If a procedure can be postponed without causing permanent damage, your dental expert can provide care through telehealth services by virtually treating patients with medication.
Dental procedures are changing too
The virus tends to spread majorly via droplets people spray when they converse, sneeze or cough. Oral healthcare necessitates close quarters and oral procedures that can produce a spray of saliva and water. To mitigate the jeopardy, dental experts are returning to manual tools for procedures like enamel cleanings, as a replacement for other instruments that may do the job quicker but may produce more of that spray. These hand instruments have an abridged chance of forming these tiny clouds of droplets. Hence, patients can expect treatments like enamel cleaning to take a longer time than usual.
What more to expect during your next visit
In case you get an in-person appointment, you must not assume the visit to be the same as your previous dental trips. Patients must follow all the necessary safety guidelines like wearing a mask when you are not being treated, frequent hand sanitization, and maintaining social distancing in the dental chamber. Alongside dental experts too must up their safety and hygiene regimens.
Comprehending the connection between oral and overall health
Upholding good enamel care will help in preventing dental ailments like bad breath, gum ailments and tooth decay. One must effectively brush and floss their enamels more than ever, since a good oral health is a window to your overall health. The well-being of your mouth also impacts the health of your heart, lungs, kidneys, and brain. A healthy mouth will facilitate you in warding off various health issues.
We are perhaps looking at a future where-in pandemics and epidemics become a part and parcel of life with health taking the center stage. Dentistry in the post-pandemic phase is based on an abundance of caution with dental experts playing an integral part in preparing patients for this new reality.
By Dr. Karishma Jaradi, Head Dental Surgeon at Dentzz Dental
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