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Majority of dentists fear Covid-19 poses high risk to 'sustainability' of their practice

The Irish Dental Association carried out a survey of dentists across the country.

Image: Shutterstock/Dragana Gordic

A MAJORITY OF dentists are warning that Covid-19 poses a risk to the “sustainability” of their practice, according to a new survey. 

The survey of 329 private dentists by the Irish Dental Association found that nearly 80% reported a high or very high risk to the future of their practices because of the pandemic. 

It also found that 87% believed that they were unlikely to return to pre-crisis levels of service.

The Irish Dental Association has previously accused the government of “ignoring the effective collapse of the dental profession in Ireland” and warned that the Covid-19 pandemic will lead to the collapse of dental practices across the country. 

The new survey found that 67% of the dentists say they can only keep their practices operational for a maximum of three months. 

“We are facing a grave threat to the nation’s oral health as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak,” said Fintan Hourihan, Chief Executive of the Irish Dental Association. 

“Routine dentistry is forbidden currently and many practices cannot facilitate emergency treatments in their premises due to the scarcity of personal protective equipment. This means that a significant number of dentists have increasing difficulty in helping patients who desperately need help.”

Hourihan called for “state assistance” to support the industry. Without it, he warned that “serious and permanent damage will be done to the capacity to provide dental care”. 

The Irish Dental Association has said that, of the practices that had applied for the Temporary Wage Subsidy scheme, 29% had been rejected. The survey found that 86% of practices have had to lay off staff. 

The association says it is also worried about the oral health of patients. 

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Nearly 90% of dentists surveyed said that all patients need to be able to access emergency centres. 

As things stand, dentists can provide emergency treatment in certain circumstances and with PPE. 

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