In a study recently published by The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), less than one percent of participating dentists had become infected with Covid-19 through June 2020. There were 2,195 participating dentists, out of which only 20 had confirmed or probably Covid-19 diagnosis.
Dr. Marcelo Araujo, the chief science officer of the ADA. said, “This is very good news for dentists and patients.” “It means that what dentists are doing – heightened infection control and increased attention to patient and dental team safety – is working.”
In March, The New York Times listed Dentistry as one of the professions at highest-risk of the novel coronavirus infection. In light of the study, the vice president of the ADA Health Policy Institute, Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., said, “The fact that dentistry was named one of the most at-risk professions for infection, but has a far lower prevalence of infection compared to other health professions, is not a coincidence. The profession has taken this issue extremely seriously, and it shows.”
Guidelines from both the ADA and CDC promote the highest level of personal protective equipment available, including masks, goggles and face shields. To reduce the amount of aerosols, the ADA recommends rubber dams and high velocity suction whenever possible and hand scaling instead of ultrasonic scaling when cleaning teeth.
Some other findings in the study were that over 1/3 of the dentists reported (at least mild) psychological distress, almost 10% reported symptoms of depression, with almost 20% reporting symptoms of anxiety. About 1/4 of them had at least one medical condition associated with a higher risk of severe illness from Covid-19.