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CP34 - Adapting Dental Care Facilities to SARS-CoV-2: Reports from National Dental Practice-Based Research Network Practitioners

‐ Aug 18, 2021 11:33pm

CP34 - Adapting Dental Care Facilities to SARS-CoV-2: Reports from National Dental Practice-Based Research Network Practitioners

Poster Type: Research

Track/Topic: Public Health Crises

Research Objectives: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic prompted dental practitioners to reduce potential risks of virus transmission at dental facilities. This study identified approaches used by National Dental Practice-Based Research Network (Network) practitioners to reduce the risks of SARS-CoV-2 transmission at dental facilities, information sources, and comfort levels with infection control and their costs.

Research Study Design/Methods: We invited participation from 5,450 active U.S. dentists, hygienists, and therapists who were enrolled in the Network on January 4, 2021. The protocol was approved by the Central and Regional Node IRBs. Practitioners were recruited via email and telephone from January 1 to February 14, 2021. We collected data SARS-CoV-2-related facility modification, patient flow and screening changes, procedure modification and PPE use, and information sources. We use chi-square and t-tests to compare results by practice setting, including federal and public health, and practice type. Regression and forest-plot analyses of practice and practitioner characteristics will be reported.

Research Principal Findings and Quantitative/Qualitative Results: 1529 respondents met study inclusion criteria. Respondents were representative of the Network members. We found most (75%-98%) practices reduced exposed surfaces and enhance social distancing; 40% closed wait areas. High-velocity evacuators were the most common change to operatories. Staff spent a median extra 40 minutes/day disinfecting dental office space. Overall, only 14% were concerned about providing care safety while 27% of community health/publicly supported dentists had similar concerns. Overall, 50% of practitioners (44% of publicly supported dentists) reported being somewhat to not-at-all confident their practice could maintain current patient volume, revenues, and SARS-CoV-2-related costs over the next 24 months.

Research Conclusions on Impact on Health Centers: National Dental PBRN practitioners, including dentists from community-based and publicly supported settings, reported multiple changes to dental office facilities, equipment, and disinfectant practices aimed at reducing the risks of SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission. Most practitioners had low levels of concern that they could safely care for patients, but community and publicly funded dentists had the highest levels of concern about safety among dentists in different settings. Overall, there was a notable lack of confidence in the financial sustainability of clinical practice over the next 2 years. Data cleaning and regression modeling are underway and will be reported at the presentation.


Jeffrey Fellows, Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research