US – ADA webinar that showed a rebounding of patient volume since many dentists began to reopen their practices, with more and more people willing to go to the dentist as they trust the precautions and protocols followed in offices.
The Association aired the webinar to let dentists know about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on dental practices, including new research on consumer views about returning to the dentist. It also covered what long-term impacts the pandemic might have on dentists going forward.
How COVID-19 is Impacting Dental Practices and Patient Attitudes Toward Visiting the Dentist is available to watch on YouTube.
The panelists discussed the latest data on patient volume, collections and personal protective equipment stockpiles in dental practices; new research on consumer sentiments about visiting the dentist from Engagious, a consumer research firm working with the ADA; and the ADA’s role in supporting dentists and safeguarding the safety of the public during the pandemic.
Some of the takeaways from the data presented during the webinar are:
• Consumer polling indicates that 80% of adults are very comfortable visiting the dentist now and another 8% would be willing to go if they had some reassurance from their dentists, the CDC or other authorities. The remaining 12% indicate they will not visit the dentist until there is a vaccine or proven treatment for COVID-19.
• Patient volume was estimated to be 73% of pre-pandemic levels for the week of July 27.
• As of the week of July 13, 99% of dental practices were open.
• Dental practices are stabilizing at roughly 90% of pre-pandemic staffing levels.
• About one-third of practices are anticipating lower patient volumes in September and October, while about one-fifth of practices are anticipating higher patient volumes. It is unclear at this stage how significant the “fall lull” will be.
• N95/KN95 masks and gowns are the most difficult PPE supplies to obtain, though PPE availability in dental practices remains stable for now.
“The ADA is proud to provide information that supports all dentists in this new normal,” said Dr. Gehani in the webinar. “We will continue to work hard to lead dentistry through the current crisis.”