Survey of Mental Health of Dentists in the COVID-19 Pandemic in the UK

J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. 2021 Jan 30;11(1):104-108. doi: 10.4103/jispcd.JISPCD_401_20. eCollection 2021 Jan-Feb.


Aim: To assess the impact of work-related changes on the mental health (MH) of dentists during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic in the UK.

Materials and methods: Dentists involved in certain treatments, for example, high-speed drilling procedures, generate infectious aerosols. These Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs) are at the highest risk of transmission of coronavirus. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant number of dentists in the UK were restricted from providing treatments to reduce the risk of viral transmission. Some of the dentists providing urgent dental treatment were involved in AGPs. Significant and sudden changes in the delivery of dental care in the current pandemic may have impacted the MH of dentists. An online survey was conducted, using validated tools to measure the MH symptoms and stress. Pearson's chi-squared test of independence was used for statistical analysis.

Results: Overall, 123 dentists participated in the survey. The prevalence of anxiety-related symptoms was 71% (95% CI 0.62-0.78), depression-related symptoms was 60% (95% CI 0.51-0.68), and stress was 92% (95% CI 0.86-0.96). Dentists working in the independent sector had more psychological symptoms compared with those in the public sector (P = 0.014).

Conclusions: Working in the public sector appeared to have a protective effect. Almost all the dentists in this survey were experiencing MH symptoms and stress. Further research is needed to assess the long-term effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on dentists.

Keywords: Covid-19; dentist; mental health; pandemic; stress.