With news of the Omicron variant dominating headlines, it's time to assess how the COVID-19 virus and its variants have impacted people's oral health. According to a survey from the American Dental Association's Health Policy Institute, stress from the pandemic has caused an increase in the prevalence of a variety of oral conditions. These include bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding), cracked or chipped teeth, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) symptoms, like headaches and jaw pain. The report also indicated that financial stresses caused by the pandemic have led many offices to change how they operate. Most respondents simply raised their fees in order to meet the financial shortfall. Other practices changed their staff's hours, took out loans, or relied more heavily on technological solutions like teledentistry. In short, the pandemic has greatly affected the health of both dental patients and dental offices.
What To Do About Pandemic Stress?
Even without a pandemic, the problems indicated in the survey are all associated with stress. According to Marcelo Araujo, the ADA's chief science officer, "As the pandemic continues, dentists are seeing stress-related dental conditions more and more. It's more important than ever for people to maintain their dental health, including seeing the dentist regularly to address any issues that could have long-term impact."
So how do dentists ensure that their patients are staying on top of their dental health? Generally speaking, they will need to adapt to working in this new situation. If there is any silver lining to this state of affairs, it's that two years of living with the virus has given people enough time to see what works and what doesn't.
Telehealth is one of the most effective means of keeping up with patients. Granted, it can't completely replace in-person care, but the ease of connecting with people over smart devices and computers ensures ongoing contact with patients who can't make it to the office.
Likewise, investing in new technologies that will cut down on space, labor, and inventory costs is a great way to ensure a practice's sustainability. We've covered multiple technologies that could revolutionize the way dental practices operate, namely 3D printing, intraoral scanning, and artificial intelligence. 3D printing, for example, is showing a lot of promise in crafting dental appliances, like, say, night guards for people who suffer from bruxism. An automated 3D printer would cut down on the time it would take to craft an appliance. Furthermore, intraoral scanning allows practices to centralize a variety of processes into a single platform, from imaging to data storage to training. What's more, there are numerous products on the market to help offices centralize their clinical, business, and personnel operations.
Any way you look at it, technology has become more important in this post-COVID world. As such, you need a reliable and knowledgeable managed service provider, like Titan Tech, who can not only advise you which products are worth investing in but also help you implement them and ensure they're secure. Reach out to Titan Tech today to learn more.
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