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Survey reveals how dentists are coping amid SARS-CoV-2 pandemic


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An online dental supply company has found that dental practice customers need protective supplies and funding assistance to resume operations. (Image: K.Wanvisa/Shutterstock)
Dental Tribune International

By Dental Tribune International

Wed. 20. May 2020


CARY, N.C., U.S.: A recently released survey has investigated how dentists are managing their practices during the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in the U.S. The results provide an inside look at the current state of the dental industry, which is facing unprecedented challenges.

More than 1,000 dental practices across the U.S. participated in the survey conducted by dental supply company Net32. Of the respondents, 90% were owner-dentists, and they shared insights on their changing business practices, worries and needs. It was found that the majority of practices are open by appointment only (68%), while 20% are fully closed, leaving 12% of practices open for emergency care only. Of the practices that are fully closed, the reasons for closing included a state mandate (83%), COVID-19 risk to dental team (70%), lack of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE; 46%) and a federal recommendation (32%).

Practices are lacking protective equipment

A total of 90% of the surveyed dental offices stated that one of their greatest worries concerned procuring PPE and other supplies in order to get their practices up and running safely. Especially N95 face masks (75%), surgical face masks (50%), hand sanitizer (50%), disposable gloves (40%) and liquid sterilant (also 40%) have been difficult to come by.

Data illustrates struggle to maintain profitability

Additional key findings are that many dental practices (70%) have implemented layoffs, whereas 30% have retained all their staff. Only 11% of dental practices have retained all their staff at full pay. Dentists are planning to rely heavily on government assistance programs to help them get through the shutdown, while nearly half (46%) are dipping into their personal savings to save their practices. Of those practices that are seeking government assistance, almost all are applying to the Paycheck Protection Program, while many others are hoping to receive Economic Injury Disaster Loan advances.

Dr. Pat Cassidy, CEO and co-founder of Net32, said: “I wanted to hear how fellow dentists are navigating the unique business challenges we’re facing with the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings reveal important industry insights, which I hope will help dentists more confidently navigate their path forward.”

More details on the poll can be accessed here.

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