Challenges for dental professionals during COVID-19 pandemic: Are we prepared?

J Educ Health Promot. 2021 May 20;10:128. doi: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_786_20. eCollection 2021.

Abstract

Background: With the emerging knowledge and understanding of novel coronavirus infection, dentists must be capable of resuming their practice with necessary precautions in near future; hence, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the knowledge, attitude, and practices along with felt challenges by the dentists concerning practicing dentistry during pandemic in India.

Materials and methods: An online cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted on the dental practitioners of Uttarakhand, India. The dentists were approached by obtaining their E-mail address from the heads of dental institutions or dental association branches in the state. The knowledge, attitude, and practices along with apparent challenges of practicing during pandemic were assessed using closed-ended questionnaire. The relationship between the mean scores and demographic variables was determined using Student's unpaired t-test by keeping the significance level below 0.05.

Results: Out of 759 respondents, a total of 458 respondents were male (60%), whereas 301 (40%) were female. The mean knowledge scores were higher in females (11.06 ± 2.12) compared to males (9.72 ± 4.53), which was statistically significant (P < 0.05). The mean practice score was lower in males (17.49 ± 6.47) compared to females (19.26 ± 6.69) and likewise lower scores were seen in graduates compared to specialists and these differences were again statistically significant (P < 0.05). Majority of the study participants felt that following various safety guidelines were not feasible (96.97%) and too expensive (96.44%) and considered them as a challenge.

Conclusion: It is imperative that dentists should be fully prepared before resuming their services and reach the right kind of awareness to limit the spread of the disease.

Keywords: COVID-19; dental practice; pandemic; readiness.