IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON UTILIZATION OF DENTAL SERVICES BY PATIENTS VISITING TERTIARY CARE DENTAL CENTRE LAHORE
Objective: To assess the impact of COVID-19 pandemicon utilization of Dental services by patients visiting a tertiary care dental centre in Lahore, Pakistan.
Study Design: Cross-sectional comparative study.
Place and Duration of Study: 28 Military Dental Centre, Combined Military Hospital Lahore Medical and Dental College, from Feb to Apr 2020.
Methodology: There cords of patients reported from 17 February to 16 April 2020 were retrieved from unit’s data bank and analysed. The patients’ demographic data and presenting complaints in pre-COVID group vs COVID group were compared using SPSS version 22.
Results: A total of 3173 patients, 1802 Male and 1371 Females reported for routine and emergency dental services. The age ranged between 5 to 79 years (31.97 ± 13.032). 84% (248 vs 2925) less patient visited during COVID compared to Pre-COVID period Significantly less female visited 1337 (45.7%) vs 34 (13.7%) during COVID period (p<0.001). A significant difference was observed between two COVID period groups patients visited for various complaints requiring treatment (p<0.001). Acute pulpal/periodontal conditions 1051 (35.93%) were the leading cause of visit in pre-COVID period. While during COVID period Orofacial cellulitis/infections 123 (49.60%) were the leading cause followed by acute pulpal/periodontal conditions 107 (43.15%), non-urgent complaints 17 (6.85%) and facial trauma 1 (0.40%). Non-urgent complaints reduced from 1022 (34.94%) to 17 (6.85%).
Conclusion: COVID-19 has strong impact on utilization of dental services, limiting them to the acute conditions mainly.