Dentistry’s economic recovery appears to have plateaued, according to the ADA. Its August 24 ADA Health Policy Institute (HPI) poll indicates that 99% of offices are open and patient volume is at 74% of pre-pandemic levels, lining up with the August 10 results showing 98% of offices opening and 73% patient volume.
Staffing was constant as well. In the August 10 poll, 93.8% of practices fully paid their staff. In the August 24 poll, the number was 94.0%. Non-owner dentists, meanwhile, are doing better. The week of August 10, 73.3% of them were fully paid. The week of August 24, that increased to 78.4%. Collections increased as well, with 55.8% of practices reporting 76% or more of pre-pandemic volume on August 10 and 59.6% of practices reporting the same on August 24.
The new poll also asked dentists about personal and professional challenges caused by the pandemic. For example, four out of five dentists have experienced physical reactions such as general discomfort, heat stress, exhaustion, and headaches because of their use of enhanced personal protective equipment (PPE). Planning for the future, obtaining PPE and other supplies, and financial sustainability also were common challenges.
Furthermore, more than half of those who responded said they faced anxiety, financial problems, sleep quality, weight change, and/or depression. About a third of those surveyed said they experienced relationship problems and/or increased use of alcohol or other substances as well. Plus, 11.8% said they experienced severe or moderate changes in their personality.