2020 By The Numbers

December 1, 2020
Noah Levine

Dental Products Report, Dental Products Report December 2020, Volume 54, Issue 12

The dental industry was hit by multiple surprises in 2020. This numerical look back highlights their impact.

3/16 — On March 16, 2020, the American Dental Association (ADA) issued its recommendation that dental practices across the country cease all elective and nonessential patient care due to the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This was followed by recommendations and shutdown orders from state dental authorities across the country.

1, 2, 4, 5, 7 — are the rankings of hygienists, general dentists, dental lab technicians, dental assistants, and prosthodontists, respectively, in a report from Business Insider on the jobs at greatest risk for contracting infectious diseases.1

97% — of dental offices in the United States were closed to all but emergency
appointments for at least part of April, according to the ADA’s Health Policy Institute.2

503,000 — dental jobs were lost during April due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This represented the hardest-hit segment of the health care sector of the economy, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.3 Many of these jobs eventually returned during the summer as practices reopened.

0.9% of dentists contracted COVID-19 in the first 2 months after reopening their practices, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA).4 The study’s authors said this shows dental practices took the risks of COVID-19 seriously.

65 — foreign manufacturers of KN95 masks were pulled from the United States Food and Drug Administration’s list of companies granted emergency use authorization due to failed tests showing the masks offered protection at levels often far below the 95% threshold for filtering out particles 0.3 µm or larger. These masks were removed from the list in May, several weeks after the testing was conducted.5

99.7% of dentists in the JADA study said they implemented enhanced infection control procedures due to the pandemic.4 These measures likely helped protect both clinicians and patients throughout the rest of the year.

53.9% — of practices reported seeing 85% or less of their pre–COVID-19 patient volume during the week of November 2.6 This shows that although the industry is recovering, most practices are still not back to normal.

153 new dental products appeared in the pages of Dental Products Report® during 2020. This is a drop from the number of new products in 2019, but it shows innovation in dentistry continues, even as the industry faces adversity.


  1. Kiersz A, Gillett R, Hoff M. 47 jobs that will always be bad for your health, and how much they pay. Business Insider. July 14, 2020. Accessed November 11, 2020, https://www.businessinsider.com/most-unhealthy-jobs-in-america-2017-4
  2. 2. COVID-19: economic impact on dental practices, week of April 20 results. Health Policy Institute. Accessed November 11, 2020, https://surveys.ada.org/reports/RC/public/YWRhc3VydmV5cy01ZTlkYjFlMTRlZDkxOTAwMTU4NTU4ZmItVVJfNWlJWDFFU01IdmNDUlVO
  3. 3. The employment situation—April 2020. News release. Bureau of Labor Statistics. May 8, 2020. Accessed November 11, 2020, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/empsit_05082020.pdf
  4. 4. Estrich CG, Mikkelsen M; Morrissey R, et al. Estimating COVID-19 prevalence and infection control practices among US dentists. J Am Dent Assoc. 2020:151(11):815-824. doi:10.1016/j.adaj.2020.09.005
  5. 5. Nicas J, Kaplan S. F.D.A. bans faulty masks, 3 weeks after failed tests. The New York Times. May 7, 2020. Accessed November 11, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/07/health/masks-banned-n95-coronavirus.html
  6. 6. COVID-19: economic impact on dental practices, week of November 2 results. Health Policy Institute. Accessed November 11, 2020, https://surveys.ada.org/reports/RC/public/YWRhc3VydmV5cy01ZmEyYzBjMmNhZThkNzAwMGViZTExNTMtVVJfM3BaeGhzWm12TnNMdjB4
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