COVID-19 Impact on Dental Service Delivery, Financing, Regulation, and Education Systems: An Environmental Scan

Authors: Margaret Langelier, MSHSA | Aubri Kottek, MPH | Theekshana Fernando, MBBS, MPH, CHES® | Miranda Werts | Sally Zhou, BS | Emily Shen, BA | Elizabeth Mertz, PhD | Simona Surdu, MD, PhD

Topics: COVID-19, Education and Training, Oral Health

Research Center: Oral Health Workforce Research Center

July 17, 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on all aspects of the oral health care system. The temporary suspension of oral health services impacted patients seeking preventive and restorative dental services with enduring consequences. Dental providers faced threats to job security as well as to their physical safety since the oral health workforce was among the most “at risk” for contracting COVID-19 during provision of clinical services. The pandemic impacted the education and training of oral health students, jeopardizing the educational pipeline. In addition, economic hardships resulting from the pandemic were far reaching, affecting providers in all oral health settings.

This report summarizes the immediate and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on 4 domains of the oral health care system: care delivery, regulation, education, and finance.

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