Dentists will need to ‘push the reset button’ to rid the fear factor for patients post-lockdown
That’s according to dentist Ben Atkins, president of the Oral Health Foundation, who says reassurances of safety in the chair will be paramount when dental practices reopen their doors.
Explanations of infection control protocols and the wearing of the necessary PPE for certain procedures will play a key role in efforts to get patients back for treatment.
The lockdown legacy might also see a wave of oral health challenges thanks to the nation’s snacking habits over the past seven weeks.
Ben said: ‘Essentially, all dentists will need to push the reset button. This applies for the dental practice as a business, as well as it’s connection to the local community. As with general medical practitioners, dentists and other DCPs will need to feel safe. Providing them with the best protection will need to be a priority.
‘For patients, there will be certain challenges, anxieties and fears about attending a dental practice. Unfortunately, evidence suggests there could will be a reluctance by patients to return. Data we have collected alongside Oral-B says more than one in four (28%) adults are hesitant about returning to their dentist or hygienist after lockdown. This is a sizable portion of the population. We must listen to their concerns and they will need reassurance and support in knowing that it is truly safe to do so. Pleasingly, nearly half (46%) say they plan to return to their dentist or hygienist once practices are open and say they feel safe to do so.