Andra-Teodora Porumb – University of Oradea, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Department of International Business, 1 Universităţii Street, Oradea, 410087, Bihor, Romania
Adina Săcara-Oniţa – University of Oradea, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Department of International Business, 1 Universităţii Street, Oradea, 410087, Bihor, Romania
Cristian Porumb – University of Oradea, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, Department of Dental Medicine, 10 – 1 Decembrie Square, Oradea, 410073, Bihor, Romania
6th International Scientific-Business Conference – LIMEN 2020 – Leadership, Innovation, Management and Economics: Integrated Politics of Research – CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS, Online/virtual, November 26, 2020, published by the Association of Economists and Managers of the Balkans, Belgrade; Printed by: SKRIPTA International, Belgrade, ISBN 978-86-80194-39-4, ISSN 2683-6149, DOI: https://doi.org/10.31410/LIMEN.2020
In this paper we will show how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected one of the sectors that have undergone a booming development in recent years, namely the sector of dental medicine. This is an industry that includes numerous and diversified activities: treatments and surgical interventions in dental practices and clinics, dental aesthetics interventions in luxury clinics, the organization of specialization courses, conferences and congresses, the development of extremely innovative procedures and materials. Dental tourism has also had a spectacular trend, especially in Eastern European countries. Within a very short period of time, this highly profitable field, but which presents a huge risk of transmitting potential viruses, has recorded significant financial losses. In March 2020, in some European countries a lockdown was imposed by governmental decree or ordinance, all private practices having ceased their activity, whereas in other countries a significant number of clinics closed on their own initiative, and those remaining open recorded a staggering decrease in the number of patients. Courses, conferences, and congresses have been cancelled one after another throughout Europe. As a result of the cancellation of many flights, the activity in the branch of dental tourism has ceased almost entirely. For two months, an extremely small number of medical units, especially hospitals, were reorganized to provide care in dental emergencies, according to a very strict protocol to limit the risk of contamination. In view of resuming their activity as of May, professionals in the sector had to meet several severe protection conditions, regulated by institutional documents by the National Orders/Colleges of Dentists. In October, in the face of the second wave of the pandemic, the governments of European countries took less restrictive measures in an attempt to avoid a new lockdown and the decrease in the supply of goods and services to the population to such a great extent, so this time, governments have not closed private practices, despite the fact that in some countries the beginning of November has brought about a new isolation – albeit a partial one – and a renewed closedown of some businesses. We will analyze, in the context of the ongoing pandemic, the situation of this sector in several European countries. Given that the demand for dental services has only decreased very little, professionals in the sector have tried in various ways to continue their work so as not to sacrifice the dental health of the population. The risk/benefit ratio is very hard to manage in this field, so precautions, prevention, and protection measures in dental practices remain of the utmost importance. If the branch of organization of courses, conferences, congresses can compensate to a certain extent the sharp decline in revenues during the lockdown period by moving the activity on online platforms, the branch of dental tourism is still suffering massively, and the possibilities of recovery are greatly reduced. Dentists remain the most exposed to risks. They are facing medical and financial concerns and have to make final treatment decisions amidst an uncertain and dangerous situation.
Dental medicine, COVID-19 pandemic, Crisis management, Risk, Dental tourism.
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