Effect of work environment and specialty degree of dentists on cross-infection control in COVID-19 pandemic

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Mutluay M., Egil E.

Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases, vol.25, no.4, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 25 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.bjid.2021.101592
  • Journal Name: Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: Attitude to health, COVID-19, Dentists, Infection control, Practice patterns, SARS-CoV-2
  • Istanbul Gelisim University Affiliated: Yes


© 2021 Sociedade Brasileira de InfectologiaObjectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the work environment and expertise/specialty degree of dentists on their behavior, awareness, and attitudes regarding cross-infection control during the COVID-19 pandemic. Design: The study population consisted of Turkish dentists who work in private clinics, public clinics and university hospitals. The demographic information of the participants, their awareness of the COVID-19 acute respiratory disease, and clinical measures taken against cross-infection were evaluated with an online survey. Between the 10th and 20th of November 2020, 2,400 surveys were e-mailed to dentists. Results: A total 454 professionals answered the survey. According to the results, 29.3% of the participants performed only urgent care during the pandemic period, whereas 59.9% of them performed both urgent and routine treatments. Among the responding dentists, 90.6% stated that they were worried about aerosol-generating dental procedures, but there was no differences between genders (p = 0.119). Most participants, especially specialists (p = 0.160), applied strict cross-infection control methods during the COVID-19 pandemic (77.2%). These dentists used personal protective equipment (PPE) at rates that varied between 75.5% and 98.4%. Nonetheless, the rate of PPE use was different between genders and degrees of expertise: women used PPE more frequently than men (p = 0.025), and specialists used PPE more often than the other dentists (p = 0.04). Finally, there was a weak positive correlation between the level of PPE use and expertise (r = 0.121; p = 0.010). Conclusions: Despite the overall knowledge of the participants regarding COVID-19 symptoms, transmission routes, and the guidelines needed to prevent the virus from spreading, the dental specialists followed infection control methods more strictly. Even though the participants were concerned about dental practices that create microbial aerosols during the pandemic period, they continued their clinical routines using high PPE levels and taking extra clinical precautions to avoid cross-infection.