A year into the pandemic, and in many cases, we’re only now getting a clear picture of all the ways COVID-19 is impacting us. Even those who haven’t gotten sick may still be experiencing health effects in the areas of mental and emotional health or even dental health, and the ramifications that are hitting the medical industry as a whole as it pertains to delayed treatment and preventive care are affecting the dental field as well.
Dental care in the United States took a steep drop last year, especially in the early months of the pandemic, as dentists were encouraged to pause non-emergency appointments in order to support physical distancing measures. Even after the CDC lifted these restrictions, a lot of people decided to put off their biannual oral examinations and other dental concerns. And for those patients who have jumped back into the dental chair, dentists are reporting seeing the pandemic’s effects.
- A poll by the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute found that more than half of polled dentists reported increased signs of stress-related oral health conditions and almost 30% saw an increase in periodontal disease
- A recent study published in the British Dental Journal found that there was evidence that good oral health could have an impact on the severity of COVID-19
- A trio of organizations that include the ADA, the American Academy of Periodontology, and the American Academy of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology recently issued a statement that more research should be conducted as to whether COVID-19 causes oral health conditions
Now, as vaccines roll out across the country and we look to fully reopen the country and restart many elements of our lives, all of this — the delayed care, the uptick in dental health conditions, the potential impact of oral health on COVID-19 and vice versa — will have a big effect on the dental industry and dental careers.
Dentists’ offices will likely see a resurgence of patients as those who have been delaying their oral exams and other dental work that may have cropped up over the past several months book appointments and preventive care. Careers in areas like dental assisting were already rising faster than average due to the growing awareness of how oral health impacts our overall health. Trained, qualified dental assistants and other support roles will be needed more than ever to manage an influx of patients, schedule their exams and treatments, clean and sterilize dental instruments, fill out and maintain patient records, and be a calm, helpful point of contact for many people who may still be understandably stressed after the past year.
With the end of the pandemic finally in sight, there’s a lot to be hopeful for, and for those in the dental industry or looking into dental assistant training, helping people get back into the habit of prioritizing their oral health is one of them.
For more information on the dental industry or our dental assisting program in particular, contact Vista College today.