According to the ADA Health Policy Institute (HPI), 65% of dental practices were open during the week of May 18, with 38% saying that patient volume had returned to pre-pandemic levels. The 27 states that had been reopened for at least three weeks saw 54% of practices reaching pre-pandemic patient volumes.
The ADA HPI poll collected data from more than 6,500 dentists in private practice during the week of May 18 who also reported that 58% of practices were fully paying their staffs, compared to 11% pully paying them during the week of April 6.
Employed dentists weren’t being hired back at the same pace as other members of the dental team. There was some improvement, however, as 27% of employed dentists said they were fully paid the week of May 18, which is a 13% increase from the week of May 4.
Also during the week of May 18, 40 states had reopened for elective dental services, with 21 states reopening with no restrictions other than additional personal protective equipment (PPE). Availability is still a concern for many dentists, HPI said, but stockpiles are beginning to rise. For example, more dentists reported having more N95 or KN95 surgical masks, face shields, and gowns in stock during the week of May 18 compared to the week of May 4.
HPI further asked owner dentists whose practices weren’t open for elective care what was keeping them from fully reopening. The top reason was that their state had not recommended resuming elective care (62%), followed by lack of adequate PPE (53%), unclear guidance for reopening (34%), and dental team members’ hesitation to return (28%).
HPI said it will continue to track data every two weeks in every state.