Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Dental Practice: A Questionnaire Survey
Dr. Shivani Kondhalkar,
Shri Samartha Krupa Bunglow, Godavari Nagar, T.C College Road, Baramati-413102, Pune, Maharashtra, India.
Introduction: Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic had unprecedented health and economic consequences. Dentists encounter maximum aerosol production due to frequent use of ultrasonic and polishing devices or other surgical interventions, thus increasing the risk of nosocomial infections. The situation had caused drastic change in the clinical routines including modifications in infection control strategies, managing of minimally invasive procedures, reducing the patient visits and updating themselves to use telecommunication to cater to the need of patients.
Aim: To evaluate the consequences and impact of COVID-19 pandemic by conducting an online survey using questionnaire amongst dentists as healthcare providers in the country of India.
Materials and Methods: This was a questionnaire-based, cross-sectional survey conducted using online platform in India with a sample size of 225 participants who were practicing dentists, either graduates or postgraduates, and agreed to give an informed consent. The questionnaire consisted of six segments: participants demographics, changes in clinical routine of the respective dentist, upgrading facilities in clinic, infection control measures, telecommunication and impact on financial aspect of the practitioner. Open-ended questions were also included giving an opportunity to the participant to share his or her perspective. Chi-square test of proportion was performed to assess the difference in proportion of the responses. A p-value <0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: This study has shown that the pandemic has impacted negatively on financial status, patient flow and daily practice. Total 221 (98.2%) clinicians agree to the fact that, COVID-19 has affected their clinical routine, 203 (90.2%) clinician were aware of the aerosol generating procedures and 95 (42.2%) practitioners have installed devices for air purification. A 209 (92.8%) emphasise on the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits and majority 84 (37.3%) were delaying elective procedures. About 184 (81.7%) have experienced decrease in number of patient flow and 104 (46.2%) practitioners agreed that their emotional and psychological wellbeing is affected due to drastic changes made in their practicing protocols due to COVID-19.
Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the social, economic, physical as well as mental wellbeing of practioners all around the world. More or less the practice is hampered causing frustration and instability. Focusing the light on practicing dentists, they have seen to make significant changes in their zone of practice and have updated to the new normal version of practice.