ANKARA

Patients can visit dental hospitals or clinics without worry despite the coronavirus pandemic, a Turkish dentist told Anadolu Agency. 

“Under the control of the Turkish Health Ministry, dental clinics and hospitals have taken advanced level of measures against COVID-19,” according to Lutfi Ciftci, chief physician at the Bursa Oral and Dental Health Hospital.

Ciftci said they took measures against the virus such as taking temperatures of patients at the entrance, asking if they have any symptoms, hanging information brochures on walls as well as informing them to wear masks and using disinfectants regularly.

“Considering the measures taken in hospitals, patients could come to dental examination without hesitation,” he said, adding an infection risk is “out of the question” regarding measures for oral and dental health.

Concerns about the risk of transmission of COVID-19 during a dental visit is understandable but there have been no confirmed cases transmitted in a dental office, he said.

“We accept patients through an appointment system ensuring a 20-minute break to disinfect the clinic and prevent crowds,” he said.

“Dentists carry the highest risk of being infected as they are exposed to aerosol droplets during the examination. If one patient has COVID-19, there is a risk of spreading the virus to the dentist and the room,” Ciftci said, highlighting the importance of personal protective equipment.

A number of countries faced problems in supplying protective equipment, including masks, hair restraints and special clothing, but Ciftci said Turkey successfully navigated that process.

“The government decided to employ dentists in pandemic hospitals to help filiation and PCR test teams when COVID-19 infection was high in the beginning. Some of our dentists, and nurses are still working in the field,” he said.

– Difficult process during pandemic

Dentist Esma Cakir, who works in the Redent oral and dental health clinics in Ankara, said dentistry is an essential health care and patients should not skip examinations.

She said dentists went through a difficult process during the pandemic which affected them physically and psychologically.

“I was afraid of infecting the virus to my baby boy and my family. I took all the necessary measures to protect me and my family,” she said.

She stressed the importance of protecting the health of others working at the clinic and said staff used air disinfection systems to prevent the spread of the virus and regularly sterilize all equipment.

“We only accepted urgent cases and performed root canal treatment and tooth extraction,” Cakir said, but added as the number of patients decreased, clinic’s revenue significantly dropped.

Derya Aygun visited her dentist in early July to have her teeth whitened.

“They obey the social distance rule in the clinic. They do not accept friends or relatives of patients to accompany them,” Aygun stressed.

Mehmet Enes Sirkeci, who works at a medical device company, said he visited the clinic to have a dental x-ray.

Sirkeci said he has been receiving implant treatment for more than a year and continued routine controls during the pandemic.

Aygun and Sirkeci said they used masks, gloves, galoshes and disinfectants when visiting the clinic.

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