Apr 03, 2020 Letters
This communication is directed to all our oral health professionals including dentists, dentexes, community dental therapists, dental technicians, dental assistants as well as management and support staff within each dental clinic, whether public or private. In fact, it is directed to all the courageous men and women of our national oral health team who dedicate their lives and daily activities towards bringing quality oral health care to our population. This also serves to inform all our citizens as to the current protocols regarding dental care in the light of the coronavirus pandemic.
We are exposed to a very challenging moment internationally and more particularly at home here in Guyana in relation to the coronavirus. We are having an opportunity to learn from the other nations in terms of what initiatives are being practiced to reduce the spread of the disease.
The governing health authorities, dental councils and dental associations in countries like the United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Brazil and others have already issued stern guidelines to oral health professionals as to the recommended protocols to be practiced especially as we seek to cooperate at the national level to contain and eventually eradicate the threat.
Like these professional health and oral health entities, we urge our professionals to avoid or suspend all elective oral health procedures especially those that generate aerosol and airborne particles in the already restricted space within the respective dental clinics/surgeries. This initiative should remain in force until such time that we are convinced that the risk is eliminated.
There can still be some emergencies that will demand input from the professional to manage the situation and bring some relief until a final procedure can be later executed. Where possible and through a rotation schedule within the clinic where necessary, patients should still have access to the professional. Quite often some professional guidance/orientation given by the dentist to the patient may be able to avoid the patient leaving his home to visit the clinic.
It is expected that patients know how to contact the professional and/or clinic and as such, in a very proactive way, patients should be able to communicate with the clinic or professional through a phone call, WhatsApp, Messenger or email and should only visit the clinic after speaking to the professional.
To avoid the patient taking it for granted that the regular attendance continues, contact should be made with patients informing them of the temporary suspension of their appointments. These recommended protocols are as a result of conditions that are very peculiar and related specifically to attendance in the dental clinic setting. These initiatives represent part of our personal and professional input to contribute to the reduction and non-proliferation of the virus especially in the dental clinic where the distance between the patient and the professional especially during attendance is very small.
We want to emphasize that the professionals in the dental profession have always been, continue to be and will continue to be at the disposal of the population in order to contribute in the best way possible towards our overcoming this difficult moment we are experiencing while we continue to promote good oral health and hygiene.
As the Dental Council of Guyana and dental fraternity accompany the developments in some other countries where the situation is in an advanced stage, we will continue to cooperate with the Ministry of Public Health’s initiatives to suspend all dental procedures that are not of an emergency nature.
We recommend to all professionals that attendance of patients be reduced or suspended temporarily with the major focus being the health and safety of the patients, the professional, the dental team and the environment. This moment demands a continuous collective effort at all levels and in all regions, as professionals and patients, as we join forces with the Government, the Ministry of Public Health, other health professionals and all citizens to overcome the current challenges.
I appeal to all professionals in the area of oral health that as a group we can be an example. I further appeal that we continue to implement the universal safety practice guidelines that we execute routinely. Let’s also maintain the safe physical distance as we proceed in our endeavours. It is recommended that all professionals follow the communication channels, internationally and locally and use reputable social media sources to keep ourselves informed as we divulge information with scientific background that will bring benefits to our population, our families and our team.
Let’s do what we know will bring results. Let’s prevent the spread.
Dr Meer Khan
Dental Council of Guyana
I will eat a piece of Exxon Christmas Cake with your ingredients inside.
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