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Volume 8 Issue 10 (October, 2020)

Original Articles

Effect of COVID-19 pandemic on utilization of dental services in India
Dr. Varun Kumar, Dr. Ruchi Juneja, Divya Juneja, Dr. Mayank Arora, Dr. Mitali Middha

Background: The fear of contracting corona virus infection has become a major barrier in availing dental services. The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on utilization of professional dental services in India. Methods: An online questionnaire seeking information on demographics and socio-economic status, routine dental check-up related habits, dental health during lockdown due to COVID-19, attitudes towards seeking dental care and problems faced during this period, was filled by 468 participants. The data thus obtained were analyzed statistically to study the utilization pattern of dental services after COVID-19 outbreak and interaction of the same with various factors. Results: 27.4% of the participants had experienced one or more dental problems since the start of lockdown. Only 12.5% of the participants feeling the need to visit the dentist actually proceeded to seek the treatment without delay. 51.3% of the participants showed willingness to get the dental treatment done as per dentistís advice in case of need, while the rest either preferred self-medication or only pharmacologic management during COVID days. A significant association was found between the dental visits made before COVID-19 outbreak and those after COVID-19 outbreak, and also between the perceived risk of visiting dental clinic during COVID times and attitude towards making such visit in case the need arises. Conclusion: A significant percentage of population avoided dental visit or treatment during COVID-19 outbreak. There is a need to address COVID associated fears in public to avoid long-term dental health related consequences.

 
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