Are you scared about your next dental appointment?
Will you have to pay more for your dental treatments now?
Are you suffering from terrible toothache and increasing your paranoia with such questions?
Well, you aren’t alone. In fact, this is the most highlighted concern of many patients suffering from toothache.
Many patients have been ignoring their dental problems since months fearing the COVID-19 pandemic and their bleeding pockets during this recession.
Circumstantially, it’s imperative to get our facts straight
- We will have to live with COVID-19 for longer than we’d anticipated (and liked).
- Dental problems only tend to increase with time. This refers to greater treatment difficulty and overall treatment costs due to it.
- The pain will not go away on its own.
- Dentists are at the greatest risk for contracting and transmitting the virus.
Read ahead to understand the complete scenario to decide for yourself.
Should dentists increase their prices?
Dentistry in India
The National Health Profile (NHP) 2018, depicts that over 2.7 lakh dentists are enrolled with the Dental Council of India (DCI), whereas the government only employs only 7,239 dentists which is merely 2.7% of the total dental practitioners.
The majority of Dentists are hence self-employed, handling private practice clinics themselves.
Indian dental market is estimably around $1.79 billion this year 2020, with a 6.8 percent growth rate, statistically stated by German online market research firm Statista. Although these statistics have plummeted significantly.
Analysts estimate that a minimum of 20% of the dental clinics will shut due to this pandemic. It hence becomes prudent to know how this shall affect your pockets before heading for any dental treatment.
Why are Dental Treatments already so expensive?
Before delving into reasons which may contribute to increased treatment prices post COVID-19, we need to understand why the treatment prices were notoriously high before COVID-19 also.
Dentistry is the pricier sibling of the entire healthcare industry. This is primarily because of the upcoming innovations and overall inflation, expensive set-up, materials, and laboratory work involved.s
This is severely compounded by the ignorance of people towards Dental problems. Sadly an Indian spends little less than Rs 100 on dental care annually.
The most important takeaway here is that treatment prices increase with disease severity. A simple cavity can be treated by a filling which inevitably will be cheaper than the root canal treatment advised later. Depending on what type of crown placement you wish, the prices will tend to vary again.
There is a synergistic distribution of patient treatment fees. This distribution involves the dentist, assistant, dental technician, clinic sanitation, maintenance charges, and everything incorporated in running small businesses.
Will Treatment prices increase Post Covid-19?
A few years earlier, it was prophesized that World War 3 will not be fought with weapons. This pandemic era, wherein millions of people are dying due to no fault of their own, is definitely a testament to that. Healthcare has taken precedence over all other key issues. Somehow its finally got the legitimate due steadily in the ugliest circumstances.
Dentists, being healthcare professionals have to play an important role in preparing the patients fearlessly for this forced reality.
Dental setups have received guidelines from various authoritative bodies including CDC (Centre of Disease Control), DCI ( Dental Council of India), and IDA ( Indian Dental Association) for conducting treatments.
Before your next treatment, you need to know about the modifications of Dental setup which contribute to increased prices merely for your own safety.
Dental clinic Modifications
According to the Dental advisory these are based on three steps:
- Preparatory phase- Use of air cleaning filters equipped with HEPA filters and UV light for the entire dental practice. Sanitation effectively with sodium hypochlorite over all surfaces in the clinic. Use of high-grade PPE for the dentists, assistants, and the patient themselves for optimal care. Effective donning and offing of PPE by everyone. Investing in improvised equipment like the high volume extra-oral sections for AGP (aerosols generating procedures)
- Implementation Phase- The reduction of cross-infections by reducing the patient load is the primary reason for the increase in treatment prices. The prices of gloves, PPE has rocketed due to increased demand for lower manufacturing supply. The measures taken to eliminate transmission is signification, one which does come with a price.
- Follow-up- Mostly conducted and co-ordinated by the dentist and the patient via teleconsultation to eradicate risks.
As we step into the post COVID era we need to realize the importance of our own safety against the infectious pandemic.
All the dental problems which have exacerbated with time during these dormant months will need utmost care and concern.
We need to collectively realize that contributing and complying with the increased prices is for our own safety. Increased prices for dental treatments surpass monetary benefits.
So the next time, you might have to shell out little extra money for your treatment. You need to know that your own safety is priceless. No price values can justify optimal healthcare.