If there is a professional category that Covid-19 has put in the corner since the first day of its appearance, it is the activity of the dentist and the whole world that revolves around it. The reasons are intuitive: dentists cannot keep a meter away from patients and work closely with the respiratory tract. “This has meant that our activities have stopped among the first and are divided among the last – explains Carlo Ghirlanda, president of the Andi, Italian Dentists Association – and phase 2 for us involved an economic commitment and expected tasks from the operational lines: we will need shirts and overalls, protective glasses and visors to be provided to all those who work in the studio and to be changed practically for each customer. The air exchange for forced ventilation systems requires replacement every 5 cycles instead of every 15. In short, we have exponentially increased the charges to maintain the maximum level of safety “.
Yet the category has been excluded from the Invitalia call which provided for reimbursements for companies that have incurred expenses for sanitization and other personal protection instruments. “The funds were really small – admits Ghirlanda – 50 million could not be enough but excluding us was a signal that immediately made us understand that the air was pulling”. Not good judging by the fact that the professionals are the only ones who cannot ask for the bonus for two months and the only ones who are excluded from the non-refundable contributions. «We believe this to be just an abuse – the president of the Italian dentists protests – that favoring only companies is unacceptable. Professionals in general and dentists in particular see the employment of 280 thousand workers, the coronavirus will produce an estimated 56% drop in turnover. The fact that international chains are running away from Italy speaks volumes about the difficulty of our market. We will face new contractions because people are afraid and also for security reasons we are forced to meet half of the customers with respect to the pre Covid agendas. The difficulties multiply every day as the costs but the government does not seem to care “.
Probably, interpreting the many sentences of ministers and undersecretaries, there is a belief that professionals are not the weak link in the Italian economic chain and the most massive aid is to be allocated to other categories. “This is an old and dated prejudice – says Ghirlanda -. The average income of Italian dentists is 44 thousand euros gross and will be halved by this pandemic. Just think that in a survey carried out on dentists under 35, 80% of them said they did not want to undertake the freelance profession. The Minister of Health has never met us and so we address our appeal to him: tell us what values the government wants to protect: ours is a category in serious crisis, which fought during the emergency (there are 15 dentists among the doctors who died working as volunteers) and yet we are excluded from any form of help. It is not a good sign for the country ».