After conducting a study to understand how dentists in different parts of the world are coping with the fear of acquiring the disease and what strategies and modifications dental practices are implementing in order to combat SARS-CoV-2, researchers from Saudi Arabia have highlighted the devastating psychological effects that the disease has had on dental professionals.
In the study—published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health—the researchers surveyed a total of 650 dentists from 30 countries using online questionnaires.
Most dentists (76 per cent) were working in a hospital setting, and of these, 74 per cent were in private and 20 per cent were in government institutions.
The findings showed that more than two-thirds (78 per cent) of general dental practitioners experienced anxiety and stress owing to concern about the adverse effects of COVID-19. The majority of the dentists (90 per cent) were aware of the recent changes in treatment protocols, but only 61 per cent said their practices have amended treatment protocols for infection control as a result of the pandemic.
“It was interesting to note that, despite having a high level of knowledge, dentists all over the globe are living in a state of constant fear of acquiring the disease while performing routine dental treatments,” said co-author Dr Muhammad Adeel Ahmed at King Faisal University in al-Hofuf.
“This anxiety has led to the modification of their practices or duty hours and the provision of emergency dental care only. Some of the dentists have had to shut down their practices for an indefinite period until the situation is safely under control.”