ADA study finds COVID-19 rate among dentists less than 1%

Fewer than 1% of dentists nationwide were estimated to be COVID-19 positive as of June, according to an American Dental Association Science & Research Institute and Health Policy Institute study.

"Estimating COVID-19 Prevalence and Infection Control Practices Among US Dentists" (PDF), published online ahead of print by The Journal of the American Dental Association, is the first large-scale collection and publication of U.S. dentists’ infection rates and infection control practices related to COVID-19, according to the ADA.

In June, ADASRI and HPI researchers invited U.S. dentists practicing primarily in public health and private practice to participate in a web survey covering questions related to COVID-19-associated symptoms, COVID-19 infection, infection control procedures used in their primary dental practice, and mental and physical health conditions.

Of the 2,195 dentists who responded to the survey, 20 had a confirmed or probable COVID-19 infection. Respondents included dentists from every state and Puerto Rico. When the results were weighted according to age and location to approximate all U.S. dentists, 0.9% were estimated to have a confirmed or probable COVID-19 infection, with a margin of error of 0.5%.

"This is very good news for dentists and patients," said Dr. Marcelo Araujo, Ph.D., CEO of the ADASRI, chief science officer of the ADA and senior author of the report. "This means that what dentists are doing — heightened infection control and increased attention to patient and dental team safety — is working."

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