Dental care professionals are at high risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure due to close contact with potentially infected patients and use of aerosol-generating procedures. A team of CIHR and CITF-funded scientists led by McGill University researcher Dr. Sreenath Madathil recently presented their results in two posters at the 99th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR). The preliminary results of their study suggests that prevalence of COVID-19 among Canadian dentists during the first wave was low (< 1%).

In March 2020, dental regulatory authorities across Canada recommended that dentists close their offices for routine care and only provide emergency care, due to high risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure. In early May 2020, dentists were allowed to re-open their offices for routine dental care while adhering to clinical guidelines for SARS-COV-2. Madathil and colleagues estimated the prevalence of COVID-19 among Canadian dentists during the first wave and their emotional wellbeing throughout the pandemic. More than 600 licensed dental professionals from 9 provinces (AB, BC, MB, NL, NS, ON, PE, QC, SK) participated.

Key points:

  • The poster presented by M.S. Khanna indicated a low prevalence (0.85%) of COVID-19 infection among Canadian dentists from November 2019 to August 2020. This was comparable to the prevalence observed for dentists in the United Stated (0.90%). (Khana 2021)
  • The poster presented by R. Seth documents COVID-19-related anxiety among Canadian dentists during the pandemic. Most dental professionals felt confident being protected using personal protection equipment, avoided potentially high-risk exposure settings (e.g., use of public transportation), and performed self-evaluations of COVID-19 symptoms nearly every day. (Seth 2021)

The overall results indicate that the low incidence of COVID-19 among Canadian dentists likely resulted from a combination of factors including but not limited to, closure of offices, higher awareness of potential COVID-19 risks, and rigorous infection prevention and control protocols used during dental procedures.

 

Khana MS, Allison PJ, Siqueira WL, McNally ME, Glogauer M, Quinonez C, Madathil SA. Prevalence of COVID-19 among Canadian Dentists in August 2020. Poster #1917, presented at 99th International Association for Dental Research (IADR) General Session conference. July 21-24, 2021.

Seth R, Allison PJ, Siqueira WL, McNally ME, Quinonez C, Glogauer M, Madathil SA. COVID-19 Anxiety syndrome among Canadian dentists during the pandemic. Poster #1918, presented at 99th International Association for Dental Research (IADR) General Session conference. July 21-24, 2021.