This cross-sectional study intends to evaluate dentists' perceptions of COVID-19's effects on the use of emergency dental care both during and after Kuwait's lockdown periods. A convenience sample of dentists employed by the Ministry of Health's various emergency dental clinics and School Oral Health Programs (SOHP) throughout Kuwait's six governorates were invited to take part in this study. To determine the impact of various demographic and occupational characteristics on the mean perception score of the dentist, a multi-variable model was developed. The study was conducted between June-September 2021, and a total of 268 dentists (61% males and 39% females) participated in this study. When compared to pre-lockdown periods, the overall number of patients seen by dentists had significantly decreased after the lockdown period. After lockdown, there were significantly more cases of acute pulpitis with apical periodontitis, abscesses, and pericoronitis than there were before lockdown (p < 0.05). After the lockdown, a significantly higher percentage of dentists (p < 0.05) reported using fewer droplets-generating procedures to manage patients with dental emergencies. After correcting for the other variables in the model, female dentists (β = 0.146; 95% CI = 0.071 to 1.451) and non-Kuwaiti dentist (β = 0.012; 95% CI = 0.234 to 1.854) had a significantly (p < 0.05) more positive perception of the utilization of dental services than others after adjusting for the other variables in the model. The majority of dentists perceive that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on Kuwait's use of emergency dental services.
Keywords: COVID-19; dental service; perception; utilization.