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We asked five dental professionals how Covid-19 has affected their businesses and what they predict will happen once the pandemic is over. Below, Dr. Marco Degidi, who lives in severely hit Italy, points out that air quality should be high on everyone’s agenda and projects a two-track future for implant dentistry.
How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect your everyday work, Dr Degidi?
When the epidemic started, we completely ceased all clinical activities for two entire months, except for a few very urgent cases.
What is your current situation like? Have you begun treating patients again?
Following the end of Phase 1 of the lockdown, we gradually resumed seeing patients. Now, around three months after the beginning of Phase 2, our clinical activities are somewhat reduced compared to what it was like before the crisis.
What has been the most profound change to your daily business due to Covid-19?
Of course, our work has always involved minimizing the risk of infections. However, it is one thing to protect yourself, your staff, and patients from bloodborne viruses such as HIV and HCV, and entirely different to take preventive measures against an airborne virus. We have made significant investments in air filtering, sanitizing equipment and advanced PPE (personal protection equipment). There has also been a noteworthy increase in the time required for each appointment as we take the utmost care at every phase. This includes questionnaires, temperature taking, isolating personal possessions, disinfecting and so on. All this slows the procedure down, in short – our expenses have increased, and we see fewer patients.
Do you think Covid-19 will have a lasting effect on implant dentistry? If so, how?
Only regarding what I have stated already, i.e. increased investment in safety precautions, which need to be particularly good as implant procedures are long and often involve a large number of staff in a small, confined space. I believe that dentists did not pay enough attention to air quality before the epidemic. And I really hope all the measures adopted because of Covid-19, including negative room pressure, filtering, disinfecting and so on, will still be used once the crisis has passed.
What are your general thoughts on the future for the implant dentistry?
I see a two-track future for implant dentistry. The first is one with advanced high-quality implant prostheses. These, unfortunately, involve higher costs and are beyond the reach of many, even if a greater number of people will be able to afford single elements and small bridges of this quality. The second is good, but lower quality implant prostheses. These are principally for large-scale rehabilitation, with the employment of largely standardized approaches that, by necessity, involve greater simplification.