Two-thirds of dentists in the country required patients to wear a mask in the waiting area in March, according to the latest wave of the ADA Health Policy Institute’s Economic Outlook and Emerging Issues in Dentistry poll.
In addition, most dentists required both clinical and non-clinical staff, 70% and 62% respectively, to mask continually throughout the workday.
The poll also found that masking requirements for patients in waiting areas and for clinical and nonclinical staff in the practice were more common in urban than in rural settings.
Other results from the poll, which involved more than 1,900 respondents, included:
The mask requirement findings come after the ADA released new resources to help dental practices make informed decisions and facilitate conversations about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest public indoor masking recommendations.
According to the resource, the CDC on Feb. 25 revised its mask recommendations, indicating that indoor masks are no longer necessary for most individuals in areas with low COVID-19 community levels. It recommended that communities should take into account three different metrics — new COVID-19 hospitalizations, hospital capacity and new COVID-19 cases — to determine its risk level and masking guidance.
The HPI’s Economic Outlook and Emerging Issues in Dentistry monthly poll began in January to measure the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to gather dentists’ opinions on other current and emerging issues impacting their practices. The revamped panel is a continuation and expansion of the previous poll that HPI conducted between the onset of the pandemic and December 2021.
To join the panel or to read the full monthly reports, visit ADA.org/HPIpoll.