The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID) outbreak has caused significant disruption to dental practice worldwide. Oral health professionals are still facing diverse challenges to providing dental care while protecting patients and themselves from the health threat posed by SARS-CoV-2. Especially since dentistry tops list of most dangerous jobs during pandemic, according to The Alberta Federation of Labour.
A survey recently released by Groupe Stemmer Distribution has investigated how dental surgeons are managing their practices during the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Europe. The results provide an inside look at the current state of the dental industry, which is facing unprecedented challenges.
The survey found that 39% of dental offices were fully closed in Europe during the lockdown with as much as 79% in France alone. Those number were slightly lower for Belgium, Spain and Portugal (53%, 46% and 43% respectively). Only 9% of cabinets were closed in Italy. 88% of dental practices which remained open in Europe were accepting emergency cases only. The lockdown was used by dental surgeons to do online courses and webinars: 68% of dentists in Europe and 49% in France declared having participated in various online trainings during this period.
Dental practices have begun to reopen across Europe in mid-March as governments began to ease public restrictions. However, over 30% of the European dental surgeons who participated in the survey still do not know when they will be ready to work again. And for those who opened, social distancing is the new cornerstone of appointment scheduling. 97% of the participants declared that they are planning to limit the number of patients in the waiting rooms, 78% want to, if possible, perform several dental procedures during one appointment and 73% plan to introduce COVID testing. And while health precautions vary in different dental markets, one thing is sure. A dental appointment will no longer look like what it was in January.