COVID-19 Impacts on the Dental Care System

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on all aspects of the oral health care system. Patients, dental providers, educators, and regulators are being asked to rapidly adjust to the COVID-19 crisis with almost no roadmap. Organizations, associations, and government agencies are all working on responses to the problem in their respective areas of expertise yet often with little awareness of concurrent changes in interrelated systems.

This site is dedicated to sharing information on immediate impacts to the dental care system in the following 4 domains: Care Delivery, Financing, Regulation, and Education.

Care Delivery

  • Immediate impacts of closures on the dental delivery system across multiple sectors (private practice, dental service organizations [DSOs], safety net, community-based)
  • Strategies being used to reopen and short-term impact on dental providers, their practices, and patients
  • Forecasts for changes which may have longer term impacts on care delivery, such as widespread use of telehealth and emphasis on minimally invasive dentistry
  • Differential impacts on safety net services, access, and workforce


  • Immediate impacts of COVID-19 on public and private enrollment in dental plans
  • Impacts on the financing system of dental care in the short term
  • Changes to adult Medicaid coverage that are to be expected as state budgets cuts begin to roll out


  • Expanded payment and guidelines around telehealth, pathways to initial licensure, and scope of practice restrictions
  • Regulation changes to be sustained post-COVID-19


  • Dental school and state accommodations to adjust requirements, such as the live patient exam, so as not to interrupt the pipeline for new professionals and to enable clinical practice by graduating students

We will be continually updating this site to provide the most up-to-date information and policy changes as they unfold. 

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