Rubada Tabassum, who runs a clinic named Rubada's Dental in the capital's Bashundhara R/A, had a hard time because of the two-month closure of her facility due to the nationwide shutdown to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Although I had to shut it down, I still had to pay the rent for the apartment where my clinic is located and had to pay my staff," she said.
Though she reopened the clinic when shutdown ended, there was a poor presence of patients as they feared Covid-19 infections.
Additionally, as people slashed their expenses due to the lowering of income triggered by Covid-19, they go to dentists only for emergency care, she opined.
Rubada said providing services to patients during the pandemic became a double jeopardy for her.
"It is vital for dental clinics to remain open to offer emergency care, but many people threw harsh comments, saying how greedy the doctors were to keep their facilities open amid the fear of Covid-19 infections. On the other hand, another group blamed us, saying why we should avoid treating people as we are in a noble profession," she said.
Many portions of the dental unit were damaged due to closure of her clinic.
"Besides, after reopening, dentists had to spend additional money for ensuring protective measures to contain Covid-19 infections," Rubada said.
In these circumstances, she has been compelled to continue her practice at a diagnostic centre for limited hours due to poor turnout of patients. She has kept her clinic shut to avoid the possibility of spreading Covid-19 infections.
The dental surgeon believes that the government should provide financial and moral support to all health service providers, including dentists, to overcome the prevailing crisis. This would encourage and motivate dentists to fight on the front line along with doctors.
To avoid Covid-19 infections, the World Health Organisation and Bangladesh Dental Society have asked dentists to change their practices or duty hours and follow the provision of emergency dental care only, Rubada said.
Bangladesh Dental Society said dentists continue to keep their offices closed to all, except for urgent and emergency procedures, to contain transmission of the deadly virus.
They also have provided dentists with guidelines to ensure that the risk of potential spread of the disease among patients, visitors, and staff is kept as low as possible.
Dental emergencies include infections, pains or uncontrolled bleedings, dying tissues inside teeth causing secondary infections and requiring a root canal, and facial traumas or broken facial bones that can cause healing issues or interruption of airways.
Dentists across the country are coping with the fear of contracting Covid-19 as well as financial losses.
According to Bangladesh Dental Society, 10,000 dentists are practicing in the country and they have 15,000-20,000 supporting staff. There are 4,000 dental clinics in Dhaka city.
Due to Covid-19, many dentists had to stop their practices for an indefinite period until the virus is brought under control.