The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the US economy and health care system, including dental practices. The pandemic had an impact on both the dental workforce and patients, dramatically affecting the ability of dental professionals to deliver oral health care. Potential positive impacts could emerge as a result of the pandemic, as dental practices use less invasive procedures in treatment to avoid possible aerosol transmission of COVID-19 and place more emphasis on promoting the importance of oral disease prevention.
To identify and describe the factors that influenced access to oral health services for different population groups during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at the OHWRC will design a series of questions about people’s need for and utilization of oral health services in 2020 for inclusion in the biannual Consumer Survey of Health Care Access. This survey is conducted by the Health Workforce Research Center at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The current project will build on previous research conducted by the OHWRC that used this consumer survey to ask adults about the facilitators and barriers to their access to oral health services in 2018.