As an essential service, Lynfield Dental Centre stayed open to provide emergency care during Alert Level 4. They treated a number of people from the local community with dental pain over the five weeks.
When not at work, they got a lot of painting done inside their home and organised their garage after seven years of accumulated chaos. Like many of us, they relieved the stress and boredom of lockdown with a little too much food, while becoming amateur epidemiologists by watching YouTube videos of professional ones.
Early in January, Raewyn dug into COVID 19 when it was first reported. She was suspicious this wasn’t as harmless as was being portrayed, so urged John to purchase PPE before it sold out. John counts himself lucky he had such good advice; many other dental practices were forced to close due to a lack of supply.
The lockdown has made them realise they took the benefits of living in a Western democracy for granted. “Now we have all experienced how distressing life can be when your government takes your familiar freedoms away”.
Providing emergency dental care, when most dental practices were closed, has made John and Raewyn more aware of the vital health service dentists provide. “Some people were suffering very badly with dental pain and struggled to find help” says John. “Given the critical need for ongoing community dental care, regardless of arbitrary stay at home orders; I’m disappointed government support for the dental profession was completely withheld during lockdown. For at least one New Zealander, untreated dental infection during this time nearly cost their life. This should not have been allowed to happen”.
Like most small businesses, John and Raewyn suffered a loss of income because of lockdown. However, they were more concerned about the interruption of important dental services to their community. Now, thankfully, it’s back to practising as usual!