Home Dental Radiology US dental health care workers’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

US dental health care workers’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

by adminjay



This study was designed to assess the prevalence of anxiety and depression symptoms and understand factors influencing mental health among dental health care workers (DHCWs) during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Beginning in June 2020, 8,902 DHCWs participated monthly in an anonymous longitudinal, web-based survey (response rate, 6.7%). The Patient Health Questionnaire-4 was used to estimate rates of anxiety and depression symptoms. Changes in mental health over time and differences by demographic and practice characteristics, COVID-19 community transmission level, and COVID-19 vaccination status were tested using χ2 tests and multilevel multivariable logistic regression.


Anxiety symptom rates peaked in November 2020 (28% of dental hygienists, 17% of dentists) and declined to 12% for both professions in May 2021. Depression symptom rates were highest in December 2020 (17% of dental hygienists, 10% of dentists) and declined to 8% in May 2021. Controlling for gender, age, race or ethnicity, and COVID-19 community transmission level, the authors found that dentists had significantly lower odds of anxiety symptoms (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.82; 95% CI, 0.70 to 0.95) and depression symptoms (aOR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.67 to 0.93) than dental hygienists. Compared with vaccinated respondents, those who were unvaccinated but planning on getting vaccinated had significantly higher rates of anxiety (aOR, 1.71; 95% CI, 1.20 to 2.44) and depression (aOR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.07 to 2.29) symptoms.


DHCWs’ mental health fluctuated during the pandemic. Anxiety and depression in DHCWs were associated with demographic and professional characteristics as well as perceived risk of COVID-19.

Practical Implications

Mental health support should be made available for DHCWs.

This clinical trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov. The registration numbers are NCT04423770 and NCT04542915.

Key Words

Abbreviation Key:

ADA (American Dental Association), CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), DHCW (Dental health care worker), NA (Not available), NR (Not recorded), PHQ-4 (Patient Health Questionnaire-4), PPE (Personal protective equipment), SARS-CoV-2 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), UK (United Kingdom)

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative virus for COVID-19.


WHO Director-General’s statement on IHR Emergency Committee on novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). World Health Organization. March 11, 2020.