COVID-19: Finding Our Way Forward
As we approach the mid-point of 2021, with much of the dust from the havoc of 2020 having settled, it seems an appropriate time to review the status of the dental profession in relation to the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic. It has been an arduous 15-month stretch that none of us in dentistry will soon forget. Certainly, much work still needs to be done.
As I mentioned in last month's issue, I am extremely proud and grateful to now be serving as Editor-in-Chief of Compendium, a publication with a long-standing history of editorial excellence and integrity. This special issue of the journal, I am confident in saying, embodies those characteristics.
In this issue, Compendium has teamed up with leading dental organizations and education institutions to assemble a review-and, indeed, in some ways a preview-of how the COVID-19 virus has impacted dentistry. Much of the editorial content in this issue is a result of a collaborative effort on the part of these organizations, led by the Santa Fe Group and Henry Schein, Inc., an effort that you'll read more about in the pages that follow.
I am particularly pleased to introduce Mark S. Wolff, DDS, PhD, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, as the guest editor of this special issue, underscoring the strong connection between Compendium and Penn Dental Medicine since the journal's founding by the School's former Dean, the late Dr. D. Walter Cohen. Dean Wolff and a number of other esteemed dental clinicians and academicians have contributed an array of well-researched articles discussing the pandemic and dentistry.
In addition to encapsulating COVID's effects on the dental profession, this thematic issue discusses such dentistry-relevant topics as the virus's epidemiology, dentists' role in testing, vaccines, teledentistry, and, of course, safety protocols and prevention. One of the themes we cover is the importance of re-establishing the public's trust in dentistry after practices were largely "shut down" early on, giving the unintended implication that dental treatment was "nonessential."
A lot has been learned in the past 15 months, and I am hopeful that the contents of this special issue of Compendium will help clinicians and dental professionals of all kinds put the pandemic in perspective. Dentistry is "bouncing back," and the more we can learn and understand, the stronger and better we can become.
Markus B. Blatz, DMD, PhD