The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the demand for after-hours dental services. Dentists who were interviewed say that the increase in dental problems could be due to people neglecting their oral hygiene as a result of working from home, or delaying dental treatment because they worry about contracting Covid-19. After Phase 1 of Circuit Breaker last year, dental services could resume, but with stringent measures in place, patients who see the dentist in the day would have experienced delays in their appointment. After-hours dental services have become increasingly popular. According to online research by the reporter, there are about seven or eight 24-hour dental clinics locally, mostly within neighbourhoods for patients’ convenience.
The Department of Emergency Medicine at SGH also offers 24-hours dental services and dental officers on duty are from NDCS. In more complex cases, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are also call upon. Dr Leonardo Saigo from NDCS’s Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery shared that during the Circuit Breaker in April last year, there was a decrease in average number of patients, but afterwards, this number has been gradually resuming. He added that last year, there was an average of 57 dental patients per month at SGH DEM, which sees patients with severe pain, uncontrolled bleeding, facial swelling due to infection, loosened or dislodged teeth, broken teeth or jaws, and cuts to the gums or face. The attendance fee at SGH DEM is $121, including basic investigation services. Emergency dental procedures involve additional charges.