According to a national survey by the American Dental Association, less than one percent of dentists nationally is estimated to be COVID-19 positive.
The study is the first large-scale examination into infection rates and disease control practices inside public health and private facilities.
Beginning in June, researchers surveyed over 2,100 dentists about their office procedures, how they’re holding up mentally, and other questions about their health and COVID-19 symptoms and infection.
Only 20 dental professionals confirmed a probable positive infection for the disease, the study concluded.
When the results are put into perspective given the location of the practitioners, less than 1 percent of dentists are estimated to be probable for COVID-19 infection.
The low positivity rate is a testament to how serious dental professionals are about maintaining safe and healthy environments for their patients and team during a very challenging time of surging infection rates.
Along with the encouraging news about low infection, the study also shows that dentists better understand the associated COVID-19 transmission risks within the dental setting.
Following the American Dental Association and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to minimize aerosols and implement safety procedures, dental offices can continue to provide their patients with the essential dental care they need in a safe and healthy environment.
Dental offices are also using high-grade personal protective equipment, rubber dams, and high-velocity suction for various dental procedures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure.
Here are some precautions dentists are taking:
- Disinfecting all equipment and surfaces
- Screening patients for COVID-19
- Checking temperatures of staff and patients
- Requesting social distancing while in waiting rooms
- Requiring masks
While dental professionals are doing a great job keeping their employees and patients safe, a large share also reported experiencing mild mental distress themselves. Also, about a quarter of the respondents have at least one medical condition that increases their risk of developing severe illness if infected with COVID-19.
Researchers will continue to collect data and survey dental hygienists to obtain a broader look into dental safety protocols’ effectiveness.
The dental industry was identified as one of the highest-risk professions given dentists’ proximity to their patients and possible exposure to aerosols.
By following strict guidelines, however, dental professionals are setting an example on how to provide an essential service while keeping both staff and patients healthy and safe.