13 May

Dental roles among the riskiest, according to new study on Covid-19 exposure

A new study has revealed that dental professionals are one of the most at-risk groups in terms of exposure to Covid-19 infection.

Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggested that dental nurses face the highest risk of exposure, followed by nurses, medical practitioners, residential wardens and care escorts. Dental practitioners occupy the fifth-place spot in the top 10. Other careers that carry a high risk include medical radiographers, medical and dental technicians, veterinarians and midwives.

One of the most telling contributing factors is physical proximity to others, and dentists and dental nurses top the list in this category. Working very closely with patients carries substantial risks, with proximity to the mouth particularly significant. 

Despite the elevated risk of exposure to the virus, the ONS figures confirmed that death rates were no higher among health workers than in the general population.

The report from the ONS highlights the risks associated with treating patients in close proximity during the pandemic, and it also underlines the importance and value of PPE. Dentists and other health workers are more likely to have access to robust PPE when treating patients, and this is undoubtedly contributing to comparable death rates in the healthcare sector and the general population. It is worth noting that figures for healthcare workers were evaluated in comparison with members of the general public of the same sex and age.