COVID-19 Impact on Dental Service Delivery, Financing, Regulation and Education Systems: An Environmental Scan

The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on all aspects of the dental care system. Oral health services were ‘paused’ in the early stages of the pandemic and the education and training of oral health students was postponed, jeopardizing progress in the educational pipeline. Patients, dental providers, regulators, educators, and students are all being asked to rapidly change how they work with almost no roadmap. Organizations, associations, and government agencies are all working on components of the problem in their respective areas of expertise yet often with little awareness of concurrent changes in interrelated systems. OHWRC will conduct a multi-part project that summarizes immediate and longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the following 4 domains: Care Delivery, Education, Financing, and Regulation. This effort builds on foundational work completed by the Health Workforce Technical Assistance Center that successfully built and maintained a webpage on COVID-19 impacts on the health workforce. Products include a COVID-19 webpage on the OHWRC website providing the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 impacts on oral health and at least one manuscript summarizing key COVID-19 impacts on oral health. This study is considered to be the equivalent of 2-3 projects in required effort and resources and will be critical to inform future research efforts on the dental workforce in the post-COVID world.