A collaborative study between the American Dental Association (ADA) and American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) was published in the Journal of Dental Hygiene, looking at the work status of practicing dental hygienists before and during the pandemic. Approximately 4800 U.S. dental hygienist participated in an online survey. The results were:

• Of those that responded, 98% were women
• Approximately 8% (one out of 12) left the workforce since the pandemic
• 32% of the participants had at least one underlying medical condition
associated with the COVID-19 virus
• Of the 8% of dental hygienists that left the workforce:

  • 59% left voluntarily
  • 41% were laid off

Of those that left voluntarily:
– Nearly half did not want to return to work until the pandemic was under control
– The other half stated concerns with child care, school closures, taking care of elderly parents

• Nearly all the participants stated their dental practice had bolstered their
infection control protocols

The study concluded stating “COVID-19 has led to reduction in the dental hygienist workforce that is likely to persist until the pandemic passes”. The dental hygiene market remains tight and is likely to be affected until the pandemic subsides.  The study also pointed out the effect the pandemic has on any women-dominated career, such as dental hygiene, many of whom are primary caregivers.


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