Build Back Better
In late 2019, a novel coronavirus emerged, later named COVID-19. The transmission of this highly contagious virus was discovered to be primarily through respiratory droplets causing it to rapidly spread globally. In early 2020, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Due to the global public health risk, many countries implemented a shutdown of non-essential businesses. Dental clinics were also ordered to close as many dental care procedures involve the production of aerosols and new standard operating procedures (SoPs) were urgently needed.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of access to oral healthcare ranging from 4 to 6 weeks, or even longer, inequalities in oral health were exacerbated forcing desperate patients to resort to “do-it-yourself” dentistry.
As dental clinics reopened with increased personal protective equipment requirements and new SoPs, oral health professionals suffered burnouts and stress due to fear of the virus, financial burden and increasing patient needs. The cumulation of these factors has resulted in worsening the shortage of oral health professionals globally and it is evident that in the recovery from the pandemic we must rebuild a resilient dental workforce.