Dentists are very close to the covid 19 virus in their daily work. Because they cannot keep the minimum distance of 1.5 meters during treatments, on the contrary: distances to the patient of three centimeters and less are the order of the day. In addition, dentists and orthodontists come into direct contact with the saliva of the patients.
The chairman of the dental association of kulmbach, andreas niklas, himself an orthodontist, now publicly denounced: "we have not yet received any protective equipment." With this, he confirms what the bavarian state dental association has been blatantly talking about in recent weeks.
So far, protective equipment has only been awarded to corona-focused practices. And there are 15 of them all over bavaria. Dentists were classified by the federal ministry of health as subordinate and thus left empty-handed in the first phase.
However, a star is now visible on the horizon, explains heinrich behrens, covid 19 supply physician. Now the dental offices of the city and the county are also equipped with FFP2 and FFP-1 masks.
The distribution takes dentist michael groh. "Most of the masks are already with the colleagues. I have called or contacted the practices that have been on vacation so far. Some have picked up the masks, some will receive the masks in the next few days", explains groh.
Of course, the number of 180 masks is not exactly lush. But with this every practice can get four pieces. "According to the dental chamber, because there is simply no protective equipment, the masks can be reprocessed. You can simply put the FFP2 masks without a valve in the oven at 70 degrees. That became the virus dead", says groh.
Christine hofmann-niebler, dentist in neuenmarkt, confirms the receipt of the masks. "I have received the FFP2 masks. Even two protective gowns. I have on 1. May emergency service.
During everyday treatment, the new marketer protects herself with three-layer masks and a visor. In addition, shower caps are also used in practice. "When viruses are in the spray mist, which we have all the time, they can’t get into our hair if we have shower caps on. I certainly didn’t want to carry these viruses home", says hofmann-niebler. Instead, the waterproof hoods are simply disposed of.
Output is a matter for the boss
Orthodontist andreas niklas has so far also used normal mouth protection for his treatments "but we also have to manage with these masks", explains the doctor. He has declared the issue a matter for the chief of staff. To get through the crisis in good shape, the remaining stocks are locked away. The output is taken over exclusively by niklas.
Niklas weib that FFP2 or FFP3 protective masks are in short supply. "And i can’t order anything for 50 euros a piece on the internet, that would simply be uneconomical," explains the doctor, so niklas.
"We can only pass on to the practices what we get ourselves. We have not even considered the specialists yet. Priority is still given to the covid practices – they get the equipment first," he explains, explains supply physician heinrich behrens. He is meanwhile glad that at least some masks have arrived. Some of the products from china did not meet the european protection standards and could not be distributed.
As further protection, orthodontist andreas niklas has opened a second waiting room in the last few weeks. "We can ensure a distance of 1.5 meters between each chair."
Overall, the kulmbach doctor, who only opened his high-tech practice above the old fire station in 2016, complains about at least 50 percent of the patients being inactive. Because only unpostponable treatments are currently carried out. "Many patients do not come. But we simply ask to cancel at least the dates, which are not perceived, in advance. Then you can plan better", so niklas.
Short-time work announced
A total of six assistants, technicians and administrators work in niklas’ practice. Before the crisis, the orthodontist had seven employees. One has already been dismissed. "It was still in the probationary period." The others work short. Personally, the dentist from kulmbach has not yet applied for immediate assistance.
"All liquidity must first be used up. And what are the 7500 euros worth??", explains the orthodontist. Personally, andreas niklas hopes that there will be some kind of protective umbrella after the crisis and tax breaks.
In the first weeks, the losses are not yet so high, because the accounts are only settled afterwards – quarterly. This means: the big end and liquidity bottlenecks as well as the actual difficult phase are yet to come.