GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – A scarcity in the supply of dental anesthesia has forced dental clinics, including the city government-run hospital, to suspend tooth extraction services in General Santos City and South Cotabato province.
A major local distributor of dental supplies confirmed that there has been no delivery of lidocaine and epinephrine, agents injected into dental patients to numb their nerves, for nearly a month now.
Dr. Lydia Limjap, the president of the Philippine Dental Association (PDA)-General Santos chapter, on Thursday, September 8, said many local dentists suspended tooth extractions and limited themselves to providing dental hygiene as a result of the shortage.
Dental clinics that have run out of anesthesia found themselves issuing prescriptions to patients so they can look for the anesthesia themselves, she said.
Limjap said the shortage caught dentists by surprise.
Even the dental unit of the city government-run Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital has suspended tooth extractions due to the dental anesthesia shortage, hospital chief Dr. Ryan Aplicador told local broadcaster Brigada News FM.
The local PDA chapter has noted an increase in people in need of dental care after the government eased COVID-19 restrictions.
Limjap said the increase could have factored in the higher demand for dental anesthesia.
“Dental clinics still had available supplies in mid-August, but after a few days, the suppliers said there were no more available stocks,” she said.
Big pharmacy chains in the city have run out of stocks of dental anesthesia, Limjap said.
“This will only be temporary. In the meantime, dental patients may just have to make do with pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicines,” she said.
Danny Utrera, the owner of Vuda Dental Supplies, said they could not find available supply of dental anesthesia, which is imported, even from suppliers in Manila.
Utrera said it means the problem is not only in General Santos and South Cotabato. – Rappler.com