Dental Tribune India

Impact of COVID-19 on dental practice in India: A cross sectional study

By Dental Tribune South Asia
December 05, 2020

A cross-sectional study conducted among the dental professionals across India has shown that COVID-19 has disrupted the source of income for the majority of the younger dental professionals.

The objective of the study: To assess the trends in dental practice in pre-COVID-19 times and future perspectives.

Methods: The cross-sectional study was conducted among the dental professionals across India. The snowball and convenience sampling methods were used to ensure maximum participation of the subjects. An online structured questionnaire was created using free-access Google Forms application and was sent to the dental professionals via E-mail, WhatsApp mobile application and through other social media platforms.

Initially, a pilot study was conducted among 30 dentists to check for the validity. The questionnaire was administered between the months of May 2020 – July 2020 and was sent to 650 dentists from various parts of the country. Data were compiled and subjected to statistical analysis.

Results: The questionnaire was sent to 650 dental professionals. Out of 650, a total of 120 (18.4%) participants took part in the survey. Majority of the respondents had 1 to 3 years of experience in dental practice (n=51, 42.5%). It was noted that the majority of the participants were into consultation practice (n=69, 57.5%). 65.8% of participants reported that they can withstand up to 6 months from an economic viewpoint.

Difficulty in paying salaries, reduced incomes is some of the main problems encountered by dental professionals. Increasing the price of treatment, reducing co-workers are a few strategies planned by dental professionals to mitigate the economic burden caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

Discussion: It is well known that COVID-19 has led to economical hardships to dental professionals as well. In the present survey, it was noted that the majority of the participants said they can endure the economic impact only up to 6 months. It was also noted that this opinion was majorly among younger dental professionals with fewer years of practice. Also, dental professionals expressed their concern on the difficulty in paying the expenses, difficulty in paying co-workers and paying wages, and also reduced income. This was also reported by Ahmadi et al that the majority of (97%) of dental professionals reported that they encountered a decrease in their financial income since the pandemic.

In a survey conducted in the UK, it was reported that the volume of inpatient per day was reduced by 74% due to the pandemic situation. To overcome the economic impact, the majority of dental professionals are considering the following measures: Increase the price of treatment and depend on an alternative source of income. Other measures being thought by dentists are reducing the no. of coworkers and also to reduce the working hours.

Governments in few countries have considered special economic packages to dental professionals to overcome the economic burden. It is desirable that the Government of India also considers a package for dental professionals.

Conclusion: Majority of dental professionals in India are dependent on private practice and consultation practice. Due to COVID-19, source of income has disrupted for the majority of the younger dental professionals. There is a mixed opinion regarding COVID-19 test prior to dental treatments. Increasing the price of treatment, depending on alternative source of income are certain measures are what dentists are looking forward.

Article links:

Access the full article PDF here: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.11.24.20238303v1.full.pdf

Access the abstract here: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.11.24.20238303v1

Authors:

Dr Ashwin Parakkaje Subramanya,
PG in Department of Periodontics,
Krisnadevaraya College of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Bengaluru.
psbhatashwin@gmail.com

Dr Prabhuji MLV,
Professor and Head of Department,
Department of Periodontics,
Krisnadevaraya College of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Bengaluru.
prabhujimlv@gmail.com

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