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Papers: Corona crisis creates million-visit dental care backlog

Municipalities are tackling the backlog by buying in additional services and providing patients with service vouchers.

potilasta hoidetaan hammaslääkärissä
Image: Heini Holopainen / Yle

Restrictions imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus have caused municipal dental care services to rack up a backlog of 1.3 million visits that have not taken place as originally scheduled.

Merja Auero, a medical counsellor with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, told regional newspaper group Lännen Media that municipalities are now attempting to clear the dental care bottleneck caused by the coronavirus crisis.

She noted that in some cases they are requiring dental care staff to work extra hours, buying in additional services and providing patients with service vouchers for use in the private sector.

All the same, statistics indicate that dental care visits in September were about 10 percent fewer than the same time last year.

According to LM, the number of visits declined because of time-consuming coronavirus precautions.

Additionally, some oral diseases worsened due to the extended wait for care, so care givers are spending more time treating patients during their visits.

"Staff absences have also increased, because some [people] have to stay at home with small children who may have flu symptoms and possible coronavirus symptoms," Auero told the newspaper consortium.

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