The Impact of COVID-19 on Infection Control Measures in Dental Settings: A Cross-Sectional Study

Yasmeen Wahdan
Ghassan Habash
Elham Kateeb
Raed Junaidy
Soher Nagi Jayash
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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on every aspect of life, especially for healthcare professionals. Dentists are the most at risk of infection due to close contact with patients. This study aimed to assess the level of awareness, perception, and attitude of Palestinian dentists towards COVID-19 and infection control. A cross-sectional online survey was conducted from 17–30 July 2020, and 349 dentists from the West Bank participated. The survey assessed demographic variables, participation in infection control training, prevention methods used in dental clinics, patient preparation for dental work, cross-infection control and sterilization before and after the pandemic, and sources for guideline protocols for dental workers. The results of the study showed that 54 (14.4%) dentists had received training in infection control in dentistry and 121 (34.3%) had attended training specifically regarding COVID-19. During a partial lockdown, 60% of dentists treated only urgent cases. Overall, the dentists in the West Bank demonstrated good knowledge and a positive attitude towards COVID-19 and infection control measures in dental clinics, as there were significant differences between replacing a medical apron or mask and wearing a face shield, cover shoes, head cap, and goggles before and after COVID (p < 0.05). Moreover, there were significant differences between wrapping the chair and using purification devices to disinfect the clinic before and after COVID (p < 0.05). However, dentists’ knowledge could be improved by increasing their accessibility to materials and provided training. Dental associations should provide guidelines regularly to dentists during a crisis to inform them of best practices and disease management. In conclusion, dentists need to update their knowledge, continuing education and training to guarantee the proper handling of COVID-19. The study’s findings show the importance of updating infection control protocols and training programs that address the specific needs and challenges faced by dentists in the West Bank.
Wahdan, Y.; Habash, G.; Kateeb, E.; Junaidy, R.; Jayash, S.N. The Impact of COVID-19 on Infection Control Measures in Dental Settings: A Cross-Sectional Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20, 6517. ijerph20156517