COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2 infection; mass vaccinations; dentistry; dental care; primary health care; professional role; dentist’s role; infectious disease


Dental Public Health and Education | Other Dentistry | Patient Safety



The Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) Dental Health Center sought to learn how COVID-19 affected dental care attainment and patient perceptions of appropriate safety measures, as well as their acceptance of the dental office as a site for COVID-19 vaccinations.


A cross-sectional online survey of dental patients was performed to inquire about barriers to care, safety precautions, including COVID-19 testing, and the acceptability of vaccination for COVID-19 in the dental office. All adult patients of the MAHEC Dental Health Center with an email address on file and a clinic visit in the past year were randomized for inclusion.


We sampled 261 adult patients; the majority were White (83.1%), female (70.1%), and over 60 years of age (60.1%). Patients who were included had visited the clinic for routine cleanings (67.2%) and dental emergency care (77.4%) in the past year. Respondents supported safety precautions at the clinic; however, there was little support for mandatory COVID-19 testing prior to a visit (14.7%). Just under half (47.3%) of respondents believed it would be appropriate for a dental office to give COVID-19 vaccinations.


Overall, patients experienced concerns during the pandemic but still sought dental care for routine treatments and emergencies. Patients supported the use of precautionary COVID-19 safety measures at the clinic, though they did not support mandatory COVID-19 testing prior to a visit. Respondents were split on the acceptability of COVID-19 vaccination in the dental clinic.