NOIDA: Since the lockdown began, Zameer Ahmad (29) from Dadri has been on a semi-solid diet as he is awaiting dental surgery. The operation will make it possible for him to open his mouth properly, something he is not being able to do at present due to the prolonged use of tobacco. Similarly, Shanti Devi (85) from Greater Noida has been waiting for her dentures since March. And 28-year-old Sarthak Chibber has been complaining of a sharp toothache since months too.

Several patients have been suffering due to the shutdown of dental services since March because of the Covid-19-induced lockdown. However, doctors said that most patients are still avoiding a hospital visit because of fear of catching the virus. From the earlier daily visits of about 600 patients, the number of appointments has come down to just 60-65 patients per day now after dental services resumed in August.
While Sharda University’s School of Medical Sciences and Research (SMSR) stayed in touch with its patients over phone during the months of lockdown, the institute has now started surgeries as well. Other Covid hospitals, such as Government Institute of Medical Science (GIMS) and Child PGI, as well Sector 30 district hospital, have also started conducting emergency surgeries now.
Dr Siddharth M, dean at School of Dental Sciences Sharda University Greater Noida, said, “We began our services from August 4 in a separate dental wing of Sharda hospital as we had many patients waiting to complete their procedures as well as pending sittings. We will also begin full operations of our dental OPDs at the hospital from Monday (August 24) where the treatments will be undertaken through prior appointments.”
Dr Ajit Kumar, joint registrar and spokesperson of Sharda hospital, told TOI that prior to Covid-19 the hospital’s dental OPD had a footfall of around 300-350 patients per day. Now it has come down to just 20-25. “We have a huge dental sciences department at Sharda University’s SMSR with over 80 doctors. All this was shut down when the hospital was converted into an L3 Covid facility. Dental services were prohibited due to its treatment specifications within the mouth, including frequent exposure to saliva, blood and other body fluids, which are the main source of Covid-19 infection as well,” he said, adding that there is still a lot of fear and anxiety among patients.
GIMS, the L2 Covid facility in the district had on an average around 60-70 patients in its dental OPD per day before Covid-19, but now only about 12-16 patients have visited this month. “All elective dental procedures are not being done at present,” said Dr Sandeep Pandey, consultant dental surgery and assistant professor department of dentistry, GIMS. Such cases have also reduced in L2 Covid hospital Child PGI and Sector 30 District Hospital.
A staffer at the District Hospital said, “Against 150-200 patients daily before Covid-19, around 30-40 patients come these days. Procedures such as capping, cleaning, MLC etc. are being done while surgical procedures are yet to start. Emergency treatment can be availed but none have come so far.”
Dr Pandey said that before treatment standard precautions are taken which include hand hygiene, use of protective equipment like mask, head cap and eye shield.

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