Today we hear from Professor Mike Lewis about the impact COVID-19 is having on the detection of mouth cancer and why we should encourage patients back to the practice.
Mike Lewis, professor of oral medicine and specialising in the detection of mouth cancer treatments, is reaching out to patients saying: ‘An ulcer, swelling or red patch in your mouth may have developed during lockdown, and this may not have not gone away, may worry you… Be reassured that your dental practice is a safe place.
‘If you have any concerns about your mouth, do not hesitate to contact your team there’.
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.
According to the report, drawn from a number of independent sources by Align Technology, the dental profession has risen to the challenge of treating patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With increased safety measures and a rise in virtual consultations, compared with pre-COVID-19 times.
The report finds that closing practices during a potential second wave in the autumn could be 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.
Those professionals surveyed suggest we are missing opportunities to identify oral cancer. This may cause significant long-term health issues.
More than three quarters (77%) are especially worried we will miss oral cancers, and not refer them onwards.
Further, 1,700 members of the British Association of Private Dentists (BAPD) concur. Nearly 97% of those surveyed are performing fewer oral cancer screens per day in comparison to pre lockdown.
Oral cancer specialist, Professor Mike Lewis, reports that where he normally receives 100 oral cancer referrals, over the same period of time, he received only three.
Professor Lewis notes this underlines the need to ensure patients have regular access to dental practices.
Align Technology has committed $1 million to the Align Foundation. This is to source and supply personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supply donations. As well as making cash donations to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Europe.
It is also using its 3D printing technology and manufacturing expertise to produce face shields and medical swaps to support the fight against COVID-19.
In addition, the company is supporting campaigns to help dentists and dentistry. This is through sharing best practice, cooperating with leading associations, providing practical support for organisations and developing technologies to support the profession. It includes introducing virtual solutions to connect doctors and patients.
Visit www.aligntech.com for more information.