Dental hygienists, located in Northern Ireland, have stated that they are concerned about their future, as the society that represents them outlined that its members have struggled to obtain PPE and have encountered reduced hours, as a result of COVID-19. Also, hygienists have had to cut the types of treatment they can give to patients.
“NI dentists are concerned about their future amid COVID-19.“
The Northern Ireland chair of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, Lorna McGrath, stated: "Before COVID we would have used ultrasonic scalers for polishing teeth or use an airflow, which uses water at a high pressure to remove stains, we can't do these at the moment. We have to use hand scaling which takes a lot longer. Patients come along expecting pre-COVID treatments but that's just not possible anymore. The majority of dental hygienists are self-employed and work a day a week in multiple practices. Many have had their hours reduced or are being asked to work different hours. For a lot of dental practices, it just isn't viable to offer a hygiene service at the moment. Through COVID we've seen an increase in mental health issues and a rise in anxiety and depression. In some of these cases, we see people lose interest in self-care and oral hygiene is usually one of the first to go. It's very unfortunate that the acting chief dental officer hasn't responded to our request for a meeting - the lack of communication is causing us significant concern."