December 9, 2022

La Ronge Northerner

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Two Years into the COVID-19 Pandemic, how has the Canadian Dental Industry Been Changed?

The last two years have been long for everyone. They have been a time of uncertainty and where everyone has had to make sacrifices in their life. Namely, businesses have had to shut down and there have been many services affected by lockdown and social distancing.

One industry that has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic is the dental industry. It has had to change and adapt a lot during the last two years for the safety of staff and for patients. Let’s take a look at how this has happened.

Early Pandemic Changes

At the start of the pandemic in 2019, the Canadian dental industry almost shut down. A lot of professionals shut their doors until more was known about COVID-19 and to figure out the best way to move forward. In particular, one trend that was noticeable was the restriction on non-essential dental care. In other words, if it was not an emergency, there would be no treatment available for patients. For most dental professionals, this was not something that was ideal but it was necessary to understand what was going on and to keep everyone safe.

Progression and Living with COVID-19

We are two years into the pandemic and it is becoming apparent that this could be the new norm. In other words, we may have to live with the virus and make changes in our lives in order to cope with it. Coronavirus might be around forever with different variants emerging. This has meant that dental professionals are having to adapt. They have a service that is vital for the public.

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There have been several changes that have been made in practices. This includes hygiene being a priority. In other words, professionals wear face masks when they are facing customers, as well as working around other members of staff. There is also an increased use of hand sanitizers to stop the spread. Personal protective equipment or PPE has become the norm for all dental professionals to wear around patients. When visiting a practice like the Cambridge based Altima Dental, patients are required to answer COVID screening questions and are encouraged to use hand sanitiser.

Other practices have had to have major renovations in order to make sure they are able to offer dental treatment safely to their patients. This includes being able to increase social distance in treatment rooms and waiting rooms. Some dental professionals have improved air conditions in order to improve air exchange.

For patients, they are going to be tested for COVID-19 when they come for dental treatment. This can include having their temperature taken. A process like this will take place before they are going to enter the clinic. After treatment, it is common for clinics to ask for contactless forms of payment. Before attending an appointment at the dentist, there is a lot of responsibility on patients to make sure that they are free from COVID. They are expected not to attend their appointment and rearrange if they have any symptoms.