COVID-19 Fear Keeps Patients Away From Dental Clinics Resulting In An Increased Need of Treatment: Say Experts

Significant drop in dentist visits leading to aggravated dental care needs

The COVID-19 pandemic has pressed the pause button on many of our routine activities, including regular visits to the dentist. When the pandemic peaked, health authorities put restrictions in place for dental care, and dental clinics saw only emergency cases. They had to advise patients to wait for non-essential or non-urgent procedures including regular check-ups, cleaning, fillings, etc. This resulted in a substantial drop in the preventive dental care visits of dental patients across India.

Lt Gen. Dr Vimal Arora, Chief Clinical Officer – Clove Dental said, According to Oral Health data, 8 out of 10 Indians suffer from some or the other kind of dental diseases. Oral & Dental Health has always been deprioritized even in pre-COVID times. During the pandemic, people have further delayed their visit to a dentist. Now, we are seeing many people having oral health conditions which could have been handled with simple cavity filling, now need RCT & Crowning and even extraction in some cases leading to loss of tooth. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare estimates that currently (2019), about 60% of India’s adult population and 70% of its school-going children are affected by dental caries (cavities) or tooth decay. Periodontal disease — infections of the tissue around the teeth — has ended up affecting at least 85% of the population. The country is also considered the world capital for oral cancer. Oral cancer accounts for over 30% of all body cancers.”

“The drop in visits to dental clinics across India has been significant which is going to cost more money to the patients. Clove clinics across the country were seeing approximately 45,000 patients every month (in pre COVID times); which during the corresponding months of year 2020 reduced to just 20%. The pan India data shows that during the first quarter of the pandemic in June 2020, the patient’s visits across the country was 9,549 – quite low compared to 45,979 as of June 2019. Likewise, in July 2020, it was 13,784 and in Oct 2020 it was 23,591. The Oct’ – Dec’ 2020 quarter has now witnessed a gradual rise in the number of patients’ visits across the country”, Lt Gen Arora added.

Dr Anirudh Singh, General Manager – Clove Dental, South West India said, “Check-ups are recommended every six months. But people often ignore this, which leads to the severity of the dental problems. Such problems eventually require expensive treatments and care. Only 12.4% of adults have ever had their mouth examined by a dentist. Routine check-ups are the part of preventive treatments. Due to COVID-19, preventive treatments have gone down by 63.7%, as the visit by patients have declined. As COVID has prompted the delay in treatments, we see the need for more restorative treatments now. Prioritising dental care is as important as any other healthcare problems.”

On safety of dental clinics relating to spread of COVID, Lt Gen. Dr Vimal Arora, Chief Clinical Officer  – Clove Dental says that “Clove Clinics have been the safest during past 9 months. We have been practising standard disinfection & sterilisation processes at all of our clinics”.

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