Study finds fewer than 1% of U.S. dentists have tested positive for COVID-19

In a new study published by The Journal of the American Dental Association, fewer than 1% of dentists were found to have contracted COVID-19 despite the profession being seen as high risk.

Despite dentistry being considered one of the professions with the highest risk of contracting and spreading an airborne virus such as the coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19), new research published by The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) finds fewer than 1% of dentists in the US have been infected with COVID-19.

The research was conducted by the ADA Science and Research Institute and Health Policy Institute based on data collected in June and finds dentists have been infected at rates far lower than that of other health professionals. The study also reports that 99% of dentists have adopted enhanced infection control practices to prevent the spread of the virus.

In a press release, researchers said these results show safety recommendations from both the ADA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are effective and being followed by a large percentage of dentists.

“The fact that dentistry was named one of the most at-risk professions for infection, but has a far lower prevalence of infection compared to other health professions, is not a coincidence,” Chief Economist and Vice President of the ADA Health Policy Institute Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., says in the press release. “The profession has taken this issue extremely seriously, and it shows. We will continue to track the rate of COVID-19 among dentists and other facets of the pandemic affecting dentistry so it can help inform the dental profession and other industries as well.”

The research on this project is ongoing, as the ADA research groups continue to survey dentists and recently partnered with the American Dental Hygienists Association to research infection rates among hygienists as well.

Published online ahead of inclusion in a future print edition of JADA, the study can be accessed here.