To maintain the financial sustainability of their dental practices, 1 in 4 owner dentists indicated that they raised fees within the previous month, according to the December wave of the COVID-19 Economic Impact on Dental Practices poll, conducted by the ADA Health Policy Institute.
Raising fees was the most common measure taken for financial sustainability for all months in 2021, the poll showed.
"Borrowing money was more common in early 2021 than it is now, likely due to the timing of the federal relief programs," said Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., HPI chief economist and vice president.
Other results from the poll included:
- Patient volume in private practices has remained stable for several months, landing at 90% of pre-COVID-19 levels during the week of Dec. 13.
- Patient volume was highest among dentists under 35 (96%) and 35-44 (94%).
- The COVID-19 Omicron variant may be affecting some dentists' outlook on pandemic recovery. Confidence level took a dip, dropping from 75% of dentists stating they were "very" or "somewhat" confident in the recovering of their dental practice in the previous month to 71% in December. A similar drop took place in August with news of the Delta variant.
"The HPI thanks dentists who have been participating in this panel since the onset of the pandemic," Dr. Vujicic said. "Looking forward into 2022, HPI will continue to measure the economic impact of the pandemic, but will also broaden the scope of its monthly poll to gauge dentists' experiences in different emerging issues in dentistry. HPI is inviting all dentists, even those who have been part of the panel in the past, to join . HPI will ask dentists to complete a voluntary, short survey once a month. Your participation is vital in providing the ADA with real-time data to help us help you."