Coronavirus: To see or not to see a dentist in Covid-19 era


Dubai - Guilty of ignoring your dental health this year? Experts speak about how you can take care of your teeth in the new normal.


Purva Grover

Published: Fri 18 Dec 2020, 12:50 AM

The pandemic hit a pause button on many of our routine activities — including regular visits to the dentist.

When Covid peaked, global health authorities urged citizens to delay their sittings as part of interim guidance. Local authorities also put restrictions in place for medical and dental care, and clinics saw only emergency cases and advised patients to wait when it came to non-essential or non-urgent procedures including regular checkups, cleaning, fillings, etc.

Oral health priority has been low even during normal times, but as we continue to live in the pandemic, it comes as no surprise that many have missed appointments and stand guilty of ignoring both the regular and the urgent.

Local dental experts speak about the need to pay a visit to the dentist, the arrangements made for the safety of both the staff and patients during these times, and advise on what to do at home, and yes, what not to avoid when it comes to dental care.

The impact of Covid-19 on dental health

According to research (as part of a paper for Centres for Disease Control and Prevention), there is a strong association between oral health conditions, like erosion, caries, and periodontal disease, and mood conditions like stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness. There are other potential connections downstream between Covid-19 and oral health.

Closer to home, Dr Marija Pavlovic, periodontist and oral implantologist at Medcare Hospital, Al Safa, Dubai, said: “If we are considering the impact of the pandemic and its effect on dental services worldwide, it is limiting patient access for dental treatment. Patient access to dental care may remain limited for some time. However, the intervals between check-ups can be extended beyond six months without detriment to the oral health of patients.”

How often should you see a dentist?

“Traditionally, check-ups are recommended every six months. However, some people are at higher risk of developing problems and need more frequent check-ups than others. However, having check-ups less often might let dental problems get worse and lead to difficult and expensive treatment and care,” said Dr Pavlovic.

Amid a pandemic that has halted many from visiting their dentist regularly, there are still things people can do to keep their smile healthy, said Markus Sebastian, senior vice-president of Align Technology, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“Brush your teeth twice a day, and follow a diet that is low on sugar and starch. Flossing and regular use of mouthwash are also key to keeping your health in check — until things get back to normal,” said Sebastian.

Keeping UAE dental clinics Covid-free

Even before Covid-19 struck, dentists and and experts know safety measures by heart — from patient contact to sterilisation, hygiene and more. They follow strict public health guidelines.

Dentists are now also providing care via teledentistry and video consultations. Sebastian anticipates that many patients would continue to use the remote services for some time to come. Rest be assured, if you do plan to make a visit, the staff at clinics are constantly monitored and extra precautions are taken.

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