Willingness to visit the pediatric dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic

(1) The Walker School, Marietta, Georgia

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The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced many issues to healthcare. Many people, including children,
are missing important appointments because they are viewed as nonessential. Pediatric dentist appointments are a possible example of a commonly missed appointment since many parents do not view dental care as vital. The purpose of this study was to determine how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected parents’ willingness to allow their children to visit a suburban Atlanta pediatric dental practice and what safety measures make parents feel more comfortable about their children visiting the dentist. We hypothesized that parents would be less willing to allow their child to visit the dentist due to anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The data showed a weak positive correlation between parents’ unwillingness to allow their child to visit the dentist and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the majority of parents would allow their child to visit the dentist because anxiety towards visiting the dentist during the pandemic was found to be low. An electronic survey collected data on parents’ anxiety towards the pandemic and going to the dentist during the pandemic, safety measures that would make them more comfortable going to the dentist, and demographic information. Data were analyzed using risk ratio (RR) tables. We counted and categorized the responses, learning that protective gear (like masks) was the most commonly requested safety measure. Dentists can use this information to increase parents’ willingness to bring their children to the dentist.

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