Journal of Indian Academy of Oral Medicine and Radiology

EDITORIAL
Year
: 2020  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 203--204

Psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic on dental professionals


Aravinda Konidena 
 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Swami Devi Dyal Hospital and Dental College, Barwala, Haryana, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Aravinda Konidena
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Swami Devi Dyal Hospital and Dental College, Haryana
India




How to cite this article:
Konidena A. Psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic on dental professionals.J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol 2020;32:203-204


How to cite this URL:
Konidena A. Psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic on dental professionals. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Nov 24 ];32:203-204
Available from: https://www.jiaomr.in/text.asp?2020/32/3/203/296578


Full Text



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At the outset, I would like to thank our dynamic Editor-in-chief, Dr Dipti Bhatnagar, for giving me an opportunity to share my thoughts through this editorial. It is indeed a great honor to be able to serve JIAOMR in the capacity of Associate Editor.

The outbreak and rapid dissemination of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2 (Sars-CoV-2) and Corona Virus Disease 19 (COVID-19) have caused an emergency status in the health care system worldwide. Uncertainty of COVID-19 status among others has practical and emotional consequences on health care workers including dental surgeons. Since the lockdown period had come to an end, and we are slowly creeping into the phase of adaptation or living with a new normal, I thought the most apt topic for the editorial would be the psychological impact of this pandemic on dental fraternity as well as methods to counter it.

It is by now, a well-established fact that dental personnel are at greater risk of contracting infection from patients due to the proximity involving face-to-face communication with patients along with frequent exposure to saliva, blood, and other body fluids, apart from the handling of sharp instruments. The possible routes of COVID-19 transmission in dental practice include airborne spread via aerosols formed during dental procedures, contact spread, and contaminated surfaces spread.[1] It has also been reported that spread of virus can happen in asymptomatic phase, complicating the scenario further.

Few stressors in health care workers reported from various studies include fear of contagion, concern for family, job stress, and attachment insecurity. Dental staff may also be conflicted about performing their professional roles as health care providers versus their roles as family members. The fear of potentially endangering their relatives to a highly infectious agent may also be a tremendous burden on health care workers, especially in public health care settings, where dental surgeons had collected the swabs from suspected patients and provided emergency care to COVID-positive patients.[1] According to Consolo U et al. who conducted a survey on psychological reactions of dental surgeons to COVID-19, 85% of the dentists reported being worried of contracting the infection during clinical activity. Shacham M, et al. in their survey found that apart from emotional distress, feelings of concern (70.2%), anxiety (46.4%), and fear (42.4%) were seen very commonly in dental practitioners. The majority of them (89.6%) reported concerns about their professional future.[2]

Consolo U, et al. have reported that all respondents in their survey reported practice closure or strong activity reduction.[1] The major costs incurred in dental practice include wages (25–30%), rent (6–9%), supplies (6–10%), and lab (3–8%).[3] Newly established practices may have loan instalments to be repaid and in the time of crisis such as this, running a practice itself may add to the financial burden. In addition, supplementary financial load to bear or incorporate the newer techniques/equipment for protection against COVID may have to be faced.

Despite these facts, it is important to make a comeback. All crises in the past have ended, so this too shall tide over. It is reported that dental practices have shown better ability to withstand recessions than most industries.[3] Self-efficacy relates to a person's belief in his or her capability to perform at different levels in response to real-time events and to execute the different behaviors needed to achieve specific goals. In stressful events, self-efficacy plays a crucial role, as at high levels it can enhance personal performance in different occupational tasks and related behavior.[1] Moreover, the dental needs of population are on the rise, given that very minimal emergency care was provided during the acute phase of lockdown. Resource gains can help to offset the impact of resource losses of the past. Adhering strictly to the guidelines laid down by DCI and other competent authorities may enable us to run a safe practice. Updating one's knowledge about new advances regarding COVID and introduction of methods to enhance self-efficacy is the need of the hour to make a significant comeback.

To conclude, although the COVID-19 emergency had a negative impact on the activity of dental surgeons, time has come to fight the crisis with renewed vigour and vitality.

References

1Shacham M, Hamama-Raz Y, Kolerman R, Mijiritsky O, Ben-Ezra M, Mijiritsky E. COVID-19 factors and psychological factors associated with elevated psychological distress among dentists and dental hygienists in Israel. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020;17:2900.
2Consolo U, Bellini P, Bencivenni D, Iani C, Checchi V. Epidemiological aspects and psychological reactions to COVID-19 of dental practitioners in the Northern Italy districts of modena and reggio emilia. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020;17:3459.
3Coulthard P. Dentistry and Coronavirus (COVID-19)-moral decision-making. Br Dent J 2020;228:503-5.