What is the impact of COVID-19 on cervicofacial infection of dental aetiology?

Answered by James Kissner

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the management of cervicofacial infections of dental origin has been quite unexpected. As a dentist working at a tertiary referral hospital in London, I have noticed a significant decrease in the number of cases seen with cervicofacial infections since the pandemic started.

One possible explanation for this decrease is the fear and apprehension that patients have about seeking dental care during the pandemic. Many people are concerned about the risk of contracting COVID-19 in a healthcare setting, and this has led to a decrease in the number of patients presenting with dental infections.

Additionally, the lockdown measures and restrictions imposed during the pandemic have also played a role in reducing the number of dental infections. With dental practices being closed or operating at reduced capacity, routine dental care and preventive measures have been delayed or postponed. This has likely resulted in a decrease in the number of dental infections that would have otherwise been detected and treated early.

Another factor that may have contributed to the decrease in cervicofacial infections is the change in oral health habits during the pandemic. With many people working from home and spending more time indoors, there has been a decrease in the consumption of sugary snacks and drinks, which are known to contribute to dental caries and subsequent infections. Additionally, the increased emphasis on personal hygiene and handwashing may have led to better oral hygiene practices, reducing the risk of dental infections.

However, it is important to note that while the overall number of cervicofacial infections has decreased, there may still be a subset of patients who are experiencing severe infections and require urgent dental care. These patients may be more likely to seek treatment, despite the concerns surrounding COVID-19. It is crucial for healthcare providers to be aware of this and ensure that appropriate measures are in place to manage these cases effectively.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unexpected impact on the management of cervicofacial infections of dental origin. The fear and apprehension surrounding dental care, the restrictions imposed during the lockdown, and changes in oral health habits have all contributed to a decrease in the number of cases seen. However, it is important to remain vigilant and ensure that those in need of urgent dental care are still able to access appropriate treatment.