Research published in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that dental professionals on the early front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic are reporting anxiety and depression. This is the first known U.S. study to examine the mental health of dental workers during the pandemic.
Here is what the study uncovered.
Higher rates during peaks of transmission
Dentists and other dental health care workers were found to report higher rates of anxiety and depression during the peaks of COVID-19 transmission. Between June 2020 and June 2021, 17.7% of dental health care workers reported anxiety symptoms while 10.7% reported symptoms of depression. The study also reported that 8.3% noted experiencing both anxiety and depression symptoms.
But dental hygienists reported even higher rates of anxiety and depression than dentists at each surveyed time point. The researchers noted that in November 2020, 17% of dentists and 28% of dental hygienists reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety. This declined to about 12% for both professions in May 2021. For depression, 10% of dentists reported symptoms while 17% of dental hygienists did. In May 2021, those numbers dropped to 8% for both professions.
This just goes to show that the pandemic has been hard on all of us, especially our dental hygienists. That is why we all need to look out for each other to ensure our safety, health and well-being.