June 14, 2024

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A shortage of dental assistants across Canada may perhaps lead to a backlog in oral health treatment and could influence dentists’ ability to just take on new sufferers, professionals warn.

The dental assistant scarcity has been taking place for a long time now, according to Lynn Tomkins, president of the Canadian Dental Affiliation (CDA), and with the federal government’s new dental treatment strategy for Canadians, she problems that without correct staffing, many dentists may possibly not be capable to satisfy the patient need.

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“The scarcity of dental helping is the quantity one challenge for dentists throughout the state,” she reported. “So dentists have experienced to change their hrs, in some conditions reduce their hrs since they never have the support staff, just like operating rooms and hospitals. They don’t have the nurses, you simply cannot do the remedy.”

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Even prior to COVID-19 strike the well being-treatment method, there was a shortage of dental assistants in Canada, she reported.

The CDA states that in 2019, up to a third of Canadian dental offices were being searching to incorporate a dental assistant to their team.

“COVID-19 exacerbated this trouble,” Tomkins mentioned, noting that the pandemic pushed the Canadian overall health-care procedure to the brink, causing front-line personnel staff, including dental assistants, to depart the occupation.

“People have possibly long gone into other places to function remotely and dentistry can not be completed remotely,” she mentioned.

Tomkins estimates that there is a present “shortage of almost 5,000 dental assistants” in Canada.


Click to play video: 'Federal Budget 2023: New federal dental care plan to cover up to 9M uninsured Canadians'


Federal Budget 2023: New federal dental care strategy to go over up to 9M uninsured Canadians


A 2022 survey carried out by the Canadian Dental Assistants Affiliation (CDAA) and shared with Worldwide News highlighted this difficulty amid the pandemic.

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The survey discovered that in the course of the height of the pandemic, around 57 per cent of dental assistants reported their work surroundings turned progressively stress filled and tricky and all over 21 for each cent felt the anticipations of their employer turned unreasonable.

The study also confirmed that during the top of the pandemic, close to 42 for each cent of the respondents reported they felt unfairly compensated provided the bigger amount of chance they skilled at perform.

One particular of the primary motorists behind the shortage of Canada’s dental assistants is a absence of appropriate compensation and added benefits, reported Kelly Mansfield, a board member of the CDAA.

Mansfield, who worked as a licensed dental assistant for a lot more than 30 years, reported the shortage isn’t due to the fact dental assistants are not graduating, it is that quite a few are choosing to go away the profession.

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“It’s very really hard to raise a family members on a dental assistant salary. I was a certified Amount 2 assistant for more than 10 many years and labored

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Humber River Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, in Toronto, Canada, on April 28, 2020. COLE BURSTON/Getty Images
  • An observational study examined data from around 34,000 physicians in Ottawa, Canada.
  • Researchers found physicians participated in nearly 26% more mental health and substance use visits during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the year prior.
  • The study team believes the increase is attributable to both increased stressors during the pandemic and additional access to mental health services through virtual outpatient options.

There is no denying the fact the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the mental health of people worldwide. A recent study found the pandemic increased cases of major depressive disorder by 53 million and anxiety disorders by 76 million globally.

But for those working on the front lines of the pandemic — such as healthcare workers — how has the situation affected their mental health?

A team of researchers from the University of Ottawa Department of Family Medicine and The Ottawa Hospital in Canada is helping answer that question. Their new study has found a link between the pandemic and the number of outpatient healthcare visits physicians participated in for mental health and substance use concerns.

Researchers believe their study results will help shed light on the need for increased mental health services for the medical community.

The results from this population-based cohort study appear in JAMA Open Network.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, studies showed an elevated rate of mental health issues among healthcare workers. One such study in 2015 found resident physicians were at high risk for depression. Another study in 2018 examined burnout among United States healthcare professionals, finding over one-half of physicians and one-third of nurses had symptoms affecting their mental health.

Interestingly, other studies have linked higher levels of substance misuse issues to healthcare professionals. According to American Addiction Centers, approximately 4.4% of medical workers have a problem with heavy alcohol consumption. And about 5.5% of healthcare personnel experience illicit drug use.

Dr. Daniel Myran, a family physician, public health and preventive medicine specialist, and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa Department of Family Medicine and The Ottawa Hospital, is the lead author of this current study.

According to him, multiple surveys have found high levels of mental distress in healthcare workers, including physicians, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“However, because these surveys generally look at one or two points in time, it limits our understanding of whether these concerning rates of mental distress reflect a worsening during COVID-19 or reflect pre-pandemic baselines,” Dr. Myran told Medical News Today. “In addition, most surveys have low response rates, which raises concerns that their results may not represent the overall mental health of physicians.”

The team addressed this by taking an alternative approach, looking at changes in mental health care-related visits that physicians made during the pandemic. “Because we were able to follow mental health visits before and during the pandemic, we were able to quantify how visits

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