Effect of COVID-19 Outbreak on Professional Approach of Dental Practitioners during Lockdown and Unlock Phases in North India-A Crossectional Survey
Background: December 2019, 27 cases of pneumonia of unknown cause were reported in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. In March 2020, the WHO declared "Covid-19” as a pandemic and Public Health Emergency of International concern. Dental professionals remain at high risk of contracting Covid-19 because of proximity to the patients while providing treatment.
Aim: To evaluate awareness and knowledge about Covid-19 among dental practitioner. Also, to assess their fear and anxiety lockdown and Unlock phase.
Method: The survey was created using the free-access Google Forms application and the link to the online survey was sent through a WhatsApp, E-mail, and Facebook to dentists in northern states and union territories of India. Data collection was done during lockdown and northern states and union territories of India. Data collection was done during lockdown and unlock phases and latter was analysed statistically
Results: During lockdown phase, it was found that fear of exposing himself (76%) and fear of exposing their family members (93.8%) was more. As Unlock is in progress only 57.8% of dentist opened their clinic. Dental practitioners are well aware of the situation now (95.3%). Despite of all measures to stop cross contamination of infection using Personal Protective Equipment’s, use disinfectants, encouraging hand hygiene protocol, infrastructural changes in clinical setup and also strictly following the guidelines from competent authority, 82.5% of respondent are still worried about going back to work. May be because of this reason, 89.6% of the dentists recommended that the patients should be treated at dedicated COVID-19 dental hospitals/clinics. As of now unlock phase has been in progress, condition is getting worse, number of deaths are increasing with each passing day, in fear of their family getting infected, is the biggest reason of their anxiety, but still they have accepted the current situation and continue to live with this.
Conclusion: The Covid-19 outbreak has revealed numerous shortcomings in the dental care system. Due to the lack of preparedness, the dental sector had suffered a lot. Dentists should learn from the experience which they acquired in current situation, and should redefine their practices to the new normal and also prepare themselves for any such situation in future.