Amo Sohal discusses how the COVID lockdown will impact patients’ oral health and how practices can stay open during a second wave.
Align Technology published results of a new survey. It reveals the measures taken and challenges faced by the dental profession during and after the COVID-19 lockdown.
Here, Dr Amo Sohal shares his experience of these unprecedented times: ‘We should see patients every six months.
‘With lockdown, you are looking at at least half of the population that went without seeing their dentist for a routine checkup.
‘This will cause neglect of their teeth, their dentition. They will not get advice to take care of their teeth. What we noticed during lockdown is that patients are left feeling deprived without access to their dentist.’
A second COVID lockdown
Dr Amo’s thoughts mirror the report, drawn together from a number of independent sources by Align Technology.
It highlights that closing practices again during a potential second wave in the autumn is detrimental to patient health.
In a survey of dentists, therapists, hygienists and nurses, 96% stated that lockdown had an adverse impact on the nation’s oral health. And emphasised the need for greater access to affordable dental care.
In addition, 88% of dental health experts say the UK’s dental health could decline. This is due to a lack of routine appointments leading to preventative dental issues getting worse.
There are many positive findings too.
The report suggests those patients who connect with a dentist virtually during the lockdown period have a positive experience.
Patients who use a virtual clinic or telephone consultation have a 97% and 94% satisfaction rating with their experience, respectively1.
This suggests a future for the use of telehealth in dentistry as an aid for recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr Amo says: ‘Teledentistry is so simple and easy to use and so efficient.
‘Connecting virtually allows all my cases to continue treatment with limited surgery time, but without compromising treatment quality.’
Visit www.aligntech.com for more information.
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