This research was discussed with authors Dr. Sreenath Madathil, PhD, and Dr. Michael Glogauer, PhD in Episode 43 of Conversations with Dr. Glogauer and Kim Ivan, an audiocast exclusive to ODHA members. Additional keynotes and resources are included with the audiocast episode to layer learning. Listen to Episode 43 here.
Background: Dental care settings potentially carry a high risk of cross-infection between dentists and patients and among dental staff due to close contact and use of aerosol-generating procedures. This study aimed to estimate COVID-19 incidence rates among Canadian dentists over a six-month period.
Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study of 644 licensed dentists across Canada, from 29th July 2020 to 12th February 2021. An online questionnaire, adopted from WHO Unity Study protocols for assessment of COVID-19 risk among healthcare workers was used to collect self-reported SARS-CoV-2 infection, every four weeks. Bayesian Poisson model was used to estimate the incidence rate and corresponding 95% credible intervals (CI).
Results: The median age of participants was 47 years, with the majority being female (56.4%) and general practitioners (90.8%). The median follow-up time was 188 days. Six participants reported COVID-19 infection during the study period, giving an incidence rate of 5.10 per 100,000 person-days (95% CI = 1.86 – 9.91 per 100,000 person-days). The incidence proportion was estimated to be 1084 per 100,000 dentists (95% CI = 438 to 2011 per 100,000), while it was 1864 per 100,000 persons (95% CI = 1859 to 1868 per 100,000 persons) in the Canadian population during the same period.
Conclusion: The low infection rate observed among Canadian dentists over the period July 2020 to February 2021 is reassuring to the dental and general community.