GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 09 September) — Scarce supply of dental anesthesia here and in South Cotabato has prompted dental clinics, including the city government-run hospital, to suspend tooth extracting services.
A main dental supplier in the area confirmed on Thursday, Sept 7, that for nearly a month now they have not received delivery of the vital dental prescription for tooth extraction.
Online selling pages in social media are filled with posts by dentists and dental clinics looking for Lidocaine epinephrine, a kind of dental anesthesia.
Dr. Lydia “Ging” Limjap, president of the Philippine Dental Association General Santos chapter, on Thursday said many dentists have stopped tooth extraction services and have limited themselves to providing dental hygiene and other preventive services.
Dental clinics with no available anesthesia merely issue prescriptions to patients so they can buy it somewhere else, she said.
Limjap said the shortage caught dentists by surprise and surmised that it was an offshoot of a sudden rise of residents visiting dental clinics after the easing up of Covid-19 restrictions.
For the last two years, only a few people visited their dentists due to the threat of Covid-19 and dental clinics have not ordered new supplies.
“Dental clinics still have available stocks in mid-August and after a few days, the suppliers said there are no available stocks anymore,” Limjap said.
She added that even the bigger pharmacy chains here already do not have stocks of dental anesthesia.
With the situation, Limjap said they are expecting that cheaper brands will surface just like what happened before when there was a similar shortage after a fire destroyed a supplier’s warehouse in Manila.
She said they have no idea until when the situation will last, but pointed out it will not take very long and new stocks of dental anesthesia will arrive.
“This will only be temporary. In the meantime, dental patients may just have to make do with pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicines,” she suggested.
Even the city government-operated Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital’s dental unit has already suspended tooth extraction activities due to dental anesthesia shortage.
Hospital chief Dr. Ryan Aplicador told local broadcaster Brigada News FM they were having difficulty sourcing out a type of anesthesia which is a complete set of the vial and needle specified for dental use.
Several dental patients at the hospital expressed disappointment about the situation, claiming they can only afford to seek the services of government hospitals.
Danny Utrera, owner of the Vuda Dental Supplies, said there are no available supply of dental anesthesia “even from our suppliers in Manila.” He said the item is imported.
Utrera said they were informed that several pharmacies and dental clinics already ran out of dental anesthetics.
He believed the situation is not only isolated in General Santos and South Cotabato, “because it is already our source in Manila telling us they no longer have available supply.” (Rommel G. Rebollido/MindaNews)