Practices and Attitudes of Dental Practitioners toward Patient Management during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Saudi Arabia
Author(s): Abdullah Ali H. Alzahrani*
Background: Exploring practices and attitudes of dental staff toward the COVID-19 pandemic is critically important; however, little is known about this territory of research.
Aim: The aim of this study is, first, to evaluate practices and attitudes of dental practitioners during the COVID-19 outbreak and, second, to examine associations between several demographic characteristics in relation to dental workers’ practices and attitudes in Saudi Arabia.
Materials and Methods: A national dental survey using a pre-designed and validated practices and attitudes electronic questionnaire (PADPs-EQ) was conducted in Saudi Arabia between April and May 2020. Mean PADPs-EQ scores, descriptive analysis, Chi-square test, Fisher’s exact test and correlations between participants’ demographic characteristics and responses were used as appropriate. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences ®software (version 20.0).
Results: A total of 567 participants were included. The overall mean and standard deviation of the PADPs-EQ scores was 74.5 ± 15.2, which indicates a moderate level of participants’ practices and attitudes. All demographic items significantly influenced participants’ practices and attitudes (p<0.0001). Most participants had some critical practices that were not always implemented as suggested by the Saudi Dental Emergency Protocol (SDEP) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conclusions: An obvious deficit in implementing the SDEP was observed. Developing effective strategies for improving dentists’ practices and attitudes may be recommended. Emphasis on updating current courses related to preventive dentistry in dental schools and an increasing number of required continuing education hours and workshops related to infection control may also be advocated.