A report shows that millions of people in the US have been delaying their dental appointments due to the fear of COVID19 infection. Experts say this situation might lead to increased fees for patients, job loss, and fewer family practices. Since the pandemic has hit the United States this spring, all the dental clinics have been temporarily shut down except for emergency appointments. It has thrown hundreds of thousands of American people out of work. Now, when 99.9 percent of dental clinics have reopened again, however, the number of patients coming in remains 20 percent lower than usual day. This data has been released by the American Dental Association (ADA). Although the dentists have been taking all the safety measures to protect themselves and patients from coronavirus, they do not think this situation will improve any time soon.
A study shows that the expenditure on dental care will go down by 38 percent in 2020. It says that 46 percent of dentist groups have said that the volume of their patients has reduced by 15 percent than usual levels in the first week of October. The study shows that nearly 15 to 20 percent of patients have confessed that they will not visit their dentists until there is a proven treatment or a vaccine for COVID19. The Chief Economist of ADA projects, Marko Vujicic has said that a large section of people is very cautious about the pandemic and it is difficult to make people return to usual activities. The World Health Organization (WHO) has earlier said that oral health check-ups, dental cleanings, and preventive care will be delayed until there is a sufficient decline in the rate of COVID19 transmission. The ADA has strongly opposed the WHO’s stand and said that dentists are taking many safety measures to reduce the risk of infection.
Dentists have been maintaining safety standards by using N95 masks, surgical masks, disposable gowns, air purifiers, cleaning solutions, temperature checks, hand hygiene, and social distancing. They have been forcing patients as well to wait in their cars until their appointments start. Experts from the dental industry have said that there is no documented proof of COVID19 cases stemming from a dental care facility. The ADA officials have said that if the situation remains the same for a few more months, dentists will consider raising their fees. They have said that they will raise the fee for insured patients too. Dentists might consider privatizing their practices as well, said the officials from ADA. The organization has revealed that a dentist spends an additional $15 to $20 per patient due to the safety measures taken for COVID19 prevention.