Nearly 99% of dental practices were open at the end of July, with a split of 44.5% seeing business as usual and 54.3% open but with lower patient volume than usual, according to the latest ADA Health Policy Institute biweekly poll.
Dental service organizations (DSOs) are faring better than the competition, with a 54.3%/43.7% split between business as usual and lower than usual volume, followed by non-DSO practices at a 44.1%/54.7% split and solo dentists with a 42.2%/56.3% split.
Also, the ADA reports that 80% of adults are now very comfortable visiting the dentist, and 8% would be willing to go if they had some reassurance from their dentist, the CDC, or other authorities. The remaining 12% said they won’t visit the dentist until there is a vaccine or proven treatment for COVID-19.
Also, according to the survey, patient volume was estimated to be 73% of pre-pandemic levels for the week of July 27. About a third of practices expect lower patient volumes in September and October, while about a fifth expect higher patient volumes.
Dental practices are stabilizing at about 90% of pre-pandemic staffing levels, with 91.6% fully paying their staffs and 7.1% partially paying them. However, only 75.1% of non-owner dentists are being fully paid, with 19.6% being partially paid. And, only 35.3% of those dentists who aren’t being paid are receiving unemployment, with 47.1% not applying.
The ADA additionally reports that N95 and KN95 masks and gowns are the most difficult personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies to get, though availability in dental practices remains stable for now.
Revenue is improving as well, with 52.4% of practices reporting collections of 76% or more, 29.0% seeing 51% to 75% of collections, and 11.1% seeing 11% to 24% of collections. The previous survey reported a 46.8%/30.5%/13.1% split.