The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Dental Practice and the Role of Digital Dentistry

Authors

  • Mohammed Alostaz, Aljowhara Allaboon, Wail Asali, Abdulaaly Alotaibi, Mohammed Abahussain, Abdulrahman Alghadyan

Abstract

Objectives

To determine the impact of COVID-19 on dental practice through a comparison made before, during, and after the pandemic and to determine the role of digital dentistry.

Design and settings

This is a cross-sectional study that has been conducted in Saudi Arabia between the 13th and the 25th of June 2021 and it included dentists practicing in private clinics.

Results

A total of 449 responses were collected in this study. Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the average number of weekly patients’ confrontations covered by 227 (50.6%) of the participants was more than 30 patients per week; however, during the COVID-19 lockdown, 145 (32.3%) dentists completed no clinical visits. Following COVID-19 vaccination release and the return of nearly regular practice, 170 (37.9%) dentists were able to see more than 30 patients per week. The majorityofdentists enrolled inthis study, 417 (92.9%), believed in digitaldentistry; however, only 115 (25.6%) dentistsused it intheir dailyclinicalpractice. Around 299 (66.6%) participantsagreed that digital dentistry can reduce COVID-19 transmission. The number of patients treated weekly with digital dentistry was limited before the pandemic, slightly increased during the lockdown, then it was decreased again after the return of regular practice. The typical characteristics of dentists practicing digital dentistry were being a male (P = 0.021) or a specialist (P < 0.001) or having more experienced (P = 0.002).

Conclusion

Dental Practice was dramatically affected by COVID-19, yet it started to go back to normal after vaccination. Although digital dentistry played a positive role by increasing the number of patients seen by a dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic, its use is still limited.

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Published

2022-02-23