Most Americans say they are comfortable visiting a dentist and plan on scheduling a dental cleaning or routine checkup before the end of the year, according to a study commissioned by the North American Dental Group (NADG).
Conducted between July 8 and July 12, the survey of more than 2,000 respondents also found that most people believe their dentist has taken the necessary steps to keep patients safe and that clinicians know how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at their practices.
The survey followed a similar poll in April and shows a dramatic shift in patient comfort levels with dentist visits despite the ongoing pandemic and stay-at-home orders across the country, the dental services organization (DSO) said. Also, the survey found:
- 60% of respondents said they are comfortable visiting a dentist for a routine cleaning or checkup, which is more than double April’s tally of 29%.
- 64% believe their dentist knows how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which is up from 42% in April.
- 65% plan on scheduling and visiting a dentist within the next six months.
“We have completely revised our in-office safety and sterilization procedures and redoubled our efforts to ensure a visit to the dentist is safe for both patients and our teammates,” said Dr. Andrew Matta, chief medical officer and cofounder at NADG.
“I am encouraged that a majority of Americans are recognizing these efforts and are more comfortable visiting a dentist now than when this pandemic first began,” Matta said.
Also, the study revealed that most patients are interested in knowing what precautions dentists are taking in their offices to prevent the spread of the virus. COVID-19 screenings, medical and safety precautions, and adherence to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention procedures were the topics of most interest.
“As a practicing dentist, I take great pride in knowing patients trust dentists, especially during this uncertain time. Dentists are healthcare professionals, and we are trained in infectious disease control,” said Matt. “We understand how to deliver quality care in the safest manner possible.”
Advanced infection control procedures and diagnostic screenings are two of the initiatives that NADG has initiated in response to COVID-19. For example, its “Essential-Treatment Only” approach early in the pandemic has been broadly adopted in the industry, NADG said.
NADG also said that it has spearheaded the crusade to expand the scope of services for dentists to administer COVID-19 tests and help the nation increase testing capacity, which is a critical step in reopening the country.
The DSO said that it also has put communities first during the pandemic across the country, donating personal protective equipment to healthcare systems and making its dental resources available online to dental practices across the globe.