How to Help Patients Deal with COVID-19 Fears as a Dental Professional
The thing about the coronavirus that makes it so scary is that it is categorized as a “novel” virus. This means that every aspect of it, from its spread to its potential impact is wholly new and unprecedented. Needless to say, this has triggered quite a bit of anxiety and fear within most of the population. Even your very own patients are likely experiencing quite a bit of nervous energy due to the events happening around them. Let’s discuss what you can do as a dental hygienist or dental assistant to help your patients deal with their fears surrounding COVID-19.
A Growing Problem
Due to the coronavirus, it has been recommended that dental hygienists try to reschedule non-essential procedures like cleanings or whitenings to decrease their exposure potential. While this is an excellent piece of advice, it has led many people to put off treatments they actually need, like root canals and other restorative or reparative procedures. This can cause much bigger problems down the road and result in larger necessary treatments. Obviously, this is something dental professionals want to prevent but when fear takes hold, it can be hard to shake.
An Understanding Approach
One of the best ways to work to assist your patients in getting the treatments they need is, to be honest. Explain that having abscesses, cavities, and other oral health issues lower the immune response and could contribute to a higher presence of severity if they do contract COVID-19. Be sure to tell them you appreciate their caution and careful approach and that they are certainly doing their part to contribute to lessening the problem but that essential medical care is something that should still be handled during this time on a case by case basis.
You can also explain to them that you are taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID. Telling them about things like not treating potentially symptomatic patients and taking temperatures may work to make them feel more comfortable moving forward with their necessary treatments. Similarly, detailing your cleanliness practices and telling them what they can do to help lessen the spread (not stockpiling n95 masks that healthcare providers need access to, social distance, wear masks, etc) can help them to feel more secure and in control, allowing them to feel much more confident in their decision to get the treatment they need.
Access More Patients in Need
With many practices downsizing to help prevent financial ruin due to COVID and its ongoing presence, more and more dental hygienists and dental assistants are finding themselves laid off indefinitely or temporarily until things get back to whatever our new normal will be. You can still make use of your skills and draw in some part-time income by working as an independent contractor.
As a place to help skilled workers find freelance jobs, Stynt is here to help you get back to work, even if you are on unemployment or are waiting for your regular employer to call you back into the office. All you need to do to get started is to fill out the form on our website, fill out your profile, and download our app; you’ll be back to work in no time!