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Behind the Vac-Scene: Dr. Shruthi Dogra experiences new challenges with her new dental practice
Experiences with the COVID-19 vaccine
April 16, 2021
Dr. Shruthi Dogra
Starting her new dental practice a few weeks before the pandemic took hold of the country, Dr. Shruthi Dogra faced new challenges.
“I think it’s been more stressful in a way because you’re responsible for the wellness of all the employees in the office, you’re responsible for all patients coming in, you make sure that they’re safe in the office. So that kind of responsibility we are more aware of now,” she said.
As a dentist working at Sunshine Family Dental, her work before COVID-19 ranged from simple dental check-ups to surgery. She worked with patients from all age ranges, and typically saw around 10 patients a day. But, since the pandemic started, the job has changed in different ways.
“After COVID-19, because of close proximity with the patients, they are hesitant to come,” she said. “We are very particular about patients, which is why we see far less of them since the pandemic has started.”
The close proximity of the patient and the doctor and just the general practice of dentistry has made the entire dental community more aware and precautious of sterilization. There hasn’t been a monumental change in the sanitation process, but the patient screening process has changed the way Dr. Dogra interacts with her patients.
“This profession has always followed the sanitation protocols, we would always break down rules, wipe rooms, set up rooms, we always covered all services. But it’s just about patient screening more than the sterilization in the back. So we just make sure that patients who enter the office are healthy and you know, we have the screening questionnaire that we have everybody fill out,” she expressed.
Despite the sterilization process, patients still cancel last minute. The lack of patient trust hurts the overall morale of the practice, but Dr. Dogra trudges on.
“As a practitioner we have to follow protocols and by the American Dental Association (ADA), you know, all the other guidelines that come out. So it’s frustrating that when you are doing your best, your staff is doing their best, you’re trying to be above and beyond with all those protocols and guidelines. And still, there’s a lot of reluctance that’s met,” she exclaimed.
Overall, the constant hustle and the oversight of the practice has also impacted Dr. Dogra’s home life. With having two young kids at home, the constant vigilance to stay safe had been elevated.
“I think my family in general was a little concerned every time I would go out. My husband would say you know make sure you wear a mask. Don’t let your guard down. That’s what he would tell me every day when I would leave for work,” she said.