Relaxation in ‘Teething’ Troubles
Safety concerns during Covid-19 deterred patients from seeking dental treatment for months together.
SUBURB speaks to leading dentists of Gurugram to understand the SOPs the clinics are following as they gradually open their shutters for consultation & procedures.
Healthcare is the disparagingly impacted sector during the pandemic, apart from the critical care of Covid19 cases. Ironically, on the one hand, hospitals and “the health warriors’ have stayed in the spotlight, on the other, despite the need, people have avoided visiting hospitals and health clinics.
Last few months, people suffering from dental issues, and the doctors have had testing times. Dental pain often needs clinical intervention which can make non-physical consultations a challenge both for patients and the doctor sitting on the other side of the screen.
Often being more elective than critical, dental treatments got postponed indefinitely by people since it requires a close proximity to the healthcare professionals as well as direct contact with the various dental equipment used during the procedure.
Patient visits & consultation challenges
Dr Heman Verma, senior Orthodontist & founder of Dental Stylers counted in premium dental healthcare clinics of Northern India shares the current scenario, “Currently all regular dental procedures are on hold, except emergency procedures which we do at our clinic. Taking precautions, almost 90 per cent of people have deferred their dental treatment. Patients requiring immediate intervention are the only ones reaching hospitals and clinics.
Dr Vandana Thakran, an Oral & Maxillofacial surgeon & founder of Mint Leaf Dental Clinic shares an interesting perspective, “though dental clinics have partially opened their doors for physical consultation, yet there is much hesitation amongst people to step in there. I attended nearly 250-300 online calls in that one month, wherein patients needed dental intervention.”
At the same time, there are some cases which want to utilize the current time to get their elective dental treatments done since they are either off from work or are working from home. “These cases were hardest to explain since they thought it was the best time to get over with their dental jobs.”
“The pandemic has gravely impacted us, last six years we had not shut operations even for a single day and Covid19 forced us to close our clinics for over a month” – Dr Thakran.
Delays & Complications
Dr Sonali Bassi, Dental Surgeon & Aesthetic Dentist, Founder of Oracare Cosmetic Dental Clinic, says, “we closed clinics for six weeks and gradually opened our practices in May to treat emergency cases. Many patients had to defer treatment for a few months. Sometimes, delayed treatment in certain cases can make the problem more severe. One of our patients was initially scared to come to us despite our advice since the medication had stopped working on him. He was under a lot of pain, and the infection turned into full-blown cellulitis of the face. Finally, we had to operate. After the surgery, he was all fine; my heart goes to him and many more who are going through mental and physical agony due to delayed treatment.”
“My team & I were continuosly engaged with our patient both telephonically & on video to take care of their pains & swelling and guide them through these challenging times” – Dr Sonali Bassi
SOPs & Safety Kit
The Indian government and medical authorities have released stringent guidelines and safety protocols to be followed in all health care centres to ensure patient safety at all times.
“We have enhanced all operating guidelines, have regular discussions and training programs for our team of doctors,” says Dr Sonali. Sterilization protocols are followed rigorously after each patient leaves Instruments and all surfaces and instruments sprayed with disinfectants. “We keep a considerable gap between the two appointments.” The trust factor is slowly building in patients as they get reassured with the safety SOPs followed.
“All dentists are working under PPE suits, and the complete operatory gets disinfected after the treatment of every patient” – Dr Heman Verma.
Role of the Patient: Avoid visiting the clinic if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
People are slowly grappling and coming to terms with the new norms. Though the journey ahead seems long until the ground reality changes and gets back to normal. “We still do not encourage children and senior citizens visiting us for regular checkups and even when we have to schedule them we prefer early morning hours to minimize the risk of infection,” adds Dr Thakran.
In unison, the dental warriors are advising people to not suffer in pain but reach out to them for consultation. They are available online to offer immediate relief treatments online and also selectively, need-based at their clinics for physical examination.