Fear and Practice Modifications among Dentists to Combat Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Apr 19;17(8):2821. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17082821.


An outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in China has influenced every aspect of life. Healthcare professionals, especially dentists, are exposed to a higher risk of getting infected due to close contact with infected patients. The current study was conducted to assess anxiety and fear of getting infected among dentists while working during the current novel coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) outbreak. In addition, dentists' knowledge about various practice modifications to combat COVID-19 has been evaluated. A cross-sectional study was conducted using an online survey from 10th to 17th March 2020. The well-constructed questionnaire was designed and registered at online website (Kwiksurveys) and validated. A total of 669 participants from 30 different countries across the world responded. After scrutiny, completed questionnaires (n = 650) were included in the study. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 25. Chi-Square and Spearman correlation tests were applied to control confounders and assess the relation of dentists' response with respect to gender and educational level. More than two-thirds of the general dental practitioners (78%) from 30 countries questioned were anxious and scared by the devastating effects of COVID-19. A large number of dentists (90%) were aware of recent changes in the treatment protocols. However, execution of amended treatment protocol was recorded as 61%. The majority of the dentists (76%) were working in the hospital setting out of which 74% were from private, and 20% were from government setups. Individually we received a large number of responses from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, but collectively more than 50% of the responses were from other parts of the world. Despite having a high standard of knowledge and practice, dental practitioners around the globe are in a state of anxiety and fear while working in their respective fields due to the COVID-19 pandemic impact on humanity. A number of dental practices have either modified their services according to the recommended guidelines to emergency treatment only or closed down practices for an uncertain period.

Keywords: coronavirus; dental practice; fear.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • China / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / psychology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission
  • Coronavirus*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dentists / psychology*
  • Dentists / statistics & numerical data
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Fear*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pandemics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral / psychology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists'*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Surveys and Questionnaires