Dental practice closure during the first wave of COVID-19 and associated professional, practice and structural determinants: a multi-country survey

Hams Abdelrahman, Sara Atteya, Merna Ihab, Myat Nyan, Diah A. Maharani, Anton Rahardjo, Mohammed Shaath, Khalid Aboalshamat, Syeda Butool, Anas Shamala, Lubna Baig, Maha El Tantawi

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) in China has influenced every aspect of life worldwide. Given the unique characteristics of the dental setting, the risk of cross-infection between dental practitioners and patients is high in the absence of adequate protective measures, and dentists may develop severe anxiety in relation to the current pandemic. The limited provision of services and widespread closure of dental practices have raised concerns among dental professionals about the financial impact. The present study assessed the frequency of dental practice closure during the pandemic’s first wave in several countries and whether closures and their associated factors differ between the private and non-private sectors. Methods: An electronic cross-sectional survey questionnaire was sent to dentists in several countries, from April to May 2020. The survey assessed professional, practice related and country-level structural factors elucidating the reason for practice closure. Multilevel logistic regression was used to assess the association between practice closure and these factors, and differences were evaluated by sector type. Results: Dentists from 29 countries (n = 3243) participated in this study. Most of the participants (75.9%) reported practice closure with significantly higher percentage in the private sector than the non-private sector. Greater pandemic-related fears were associated with a significantly higher likelihood of practice closure in the private (odds ratio [OR] = 1.54, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.24, 1.92) and non-private (OR = 1.38, 95% CI 1.04, 1.82) sectors. Dentists in non-private rural areas (OR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.42, 0.81), and those in hospitals (overall OR = 0.60, 95% CI 0.36, 0.99) reported a low likelihood of closure. A high likelihood of closure was reported by dentists in the academia (OR = 2.13, 95% CI 1.23, 3.71). More hospital beds at the country-level were associated with a lower likelihood of closure in the non-private sector (OR = 0.65, 95% CI 0.46, 0.91). Private- sector dentists in high- income countries (HICs) reported fewer closures than those in non-HICs (OR = 0.55, 95% CI 0.15, 1.93). Conclusions: Most dentists reported practice closure because of COVID-19, and greater impacts were reported in the private sector than in the non-private sector. Closure was associated with professional, practice, and country-levels factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number243
JournalBMC Oral Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Dental clinics
  • Dentists
  • Fear
  • Hospital bed capacity
  • Private practice


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