Study Shows Pandemic Increased Depression and Anxiety in Dental Health Workers – News

The first known US study to assess the mental health of dental practitioners and dentists during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the first known US study to assess the mental health of dental practitioners and dentists during the COVID-19 pandemic.A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association involving faculty from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry found that dental health care providers reported symptoms of anxiety and depression during spikes in public transmission during the pandemic. COVID-19.

The study, titled “Mental Health of US Dental Health Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” is the first known study in the United States to assess the mental health of dental practitioners and dental hygienists during the pandemic.

During the one-year survey between June 2021 and June 2022, 17.7 percent of DHCWs reported symptoms of anxiety, 10.7 percent reported symptoms of depression, and 8.3 percent reported symptoms of both anxiety and of depression. Dental hygienists reported higher levels of anxiety and depression symptoms than dentists at each time point studied.

“This project was part of a larger assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on dental health care providers during the height of the pandemic,” said lead author Maria (Mia) L. Geisinger, DDS, professor in the School of Dentistry. of Medicine at UAB and Director of Advanced Education in Periodontology. “This was important, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, because we were very concerned about burnout among DHCP and wanted to assess the impact of vaccination and community infection rates of COVID-19 on the mental health of these providers. Because they are caregivers, the mental and physical health of our dental health providers is critical to being able to provide optimal care for patients and communities.”

Inside Marie Mia Geisinger 5Maria (Mia) L. Geisinger, DDS, professor at the UAB School of Dentistry and director of Advanced Education in Periodontology. Photo: Lexi CoonGeisinger and her colleagues surveyed 8,902 dental health workers monthly through an anonymous, web-based survey. They found that anxiety symptoms peaked in November 2020 and depressive symptoms peaked in December 2020 for both female and male dentists. In November 2020, 17 percent of dentists and 28 percent of dental hygienists reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety. That number dropped to about 12 percent for both professions in May 2021. In December 2020, 10 percent of dentists and 17 percent of dental hygienists reported symptoms of depression. That percentage dropped to about 8 percent for both occupations in May 2021.

This study is also the first to examine the relationship between vaccine delivery and mental health. The researchers found that overall, participants’ anxiety symptoms decreased after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, with approximately 20.6 percent of unvaccinated dental health workers who intended to be vaccinated experiencing anxiety compared to 14.1 percent of those who have been fully vaccinated.

“Through our research, we wanted to better understand the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on DHCW mental health and work to support all members of the dental profession,” Geisinger said. “By focusing on mental wellbeing through training programs and developing support infrastructure to help DHCWs who may be experiencing mental health issues, we can better support our colleagues and their ability to care for patients.”

Read the full study here.

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