The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all services worldwide. It has led to the closure of many facilities and establishments some of which were very dependent on physical contact among people. In particular, the health sector has been tremendously affected.
People are afraid to go to the hospital even when they are sick due to the fear of contracting the virus. Some health centers have also experienced overpopulation of patients having the virus leading to scarcity of available resources and making the environment even riskier.
Sterilization and sanitization
This is one of the most important steps of fighting COVID-19. Since the transmission is by means of droplets of saliva, the offices invest heavily in the cleanliness of both the equipment being used and the workplace as a whole.
Machines are placed at strategic positions such as the door to dispense sanitizers for people entering the premises. When it comes to sterilization of equipment, not a lot has changed since this was being observed even pre-pandemic.
Although, all the surfaces are now regularly being cleaned using disinfectants. Wastebaskets have also been increased and placed strategically to promote proper disposal of wastes such as used gloves, cotton, and tissue papers.
Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other advanced gear
In the past, only the dentist used PPE. This usually included a white coat and gloves. Now, additional equipment such as masks and aprons that cover the entire body is being used. The patient is also required to be wearing a mask as they enter the clinic, failure to which there might be denial of services.
The goal is to protect both the dentist and patient thus preventing further transmission of the disease. Some clinics also screen people before allowing them in. This can be done using special testing kits meant for this purpose or by simply measuring the patient’s temperature using a thermometer.
Those found to be having the virus are immediately sent to quarantine facilities. The doors are also fitted with sensors so that they can open automatically when they sense someone’s presence hence you don’t have to touch the handle. Others simply leave the door open. See this link for more information about PPEs https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/using-ppe.html.
Since the droplets are produced when a person sneezes, coughs or spits while talking, physical distancing has been devised as an effective way to minimize transmissions.
You will find that the waiting rooms have fewer chairs than before and they are placed at a distance from each other. Some clinics also regulate the number of people who can be allowed in at any given time.
Others have also completely done away with the waiting rooms and people are being served one by one based on the appointments made. While all these minimize contact hence reducing the risk of contracting the disease, some people still shake hands while greeting each other thereby defeating the whole purpose of the process.
Emergence of teledentistry
This refers to the use of electronic means of communication to facilitate the process. For instance, when the patient books an appointment online, the dentist can reach out to the patient and ask them to describe the problem.
This is facilitated by video tools that allow the doctor to visually examine the damage remotely. If physical treatment is required then the patient can be told to come to the premises otherwise they can be advised on how to solve the problem.
Also, before being instructed to visit the clinic the dentist inquires if any other symptoms are being experienced to determine if the patient might be having the virus. Click here to find out some reasons why you should be visiting a dentist for checkup.
Covid-19 has changed the way a lot of things are being done. Since there is no cure yet, precautions have to be taken to avoid further transmissions and deaths.
The measures being taken are all based on three principles namely; sanitization, physical distancing, and personal protection. People are being advised to stay at home and leave only when necessary. Dental services are being conducted differently and the workplaces have also changed to suit the situation.
Although this has changed the whole experience, it might work out as an advantage in the future due to the promotion of good hygiene and aspects such as teledentistry.