Press Releases

The Effects of COVID-19 on Primary Dental Care Services

Alexandria, VA, USA – A study examining how the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the provision of essential services to the population, including oral health, will be presented at the 101st General Session of the IADR, which will be held in conjunction with the 9th Meeting of the Latin American Region and the 12th World Congress on Preventive Dentistry on June 21-24, 2023, in Bogotá, Colombia.

The WCPD Interactive Talk presentation, “Effects of COVID-19 on Primary Dental Care Services,” will take place on Saturday June 24, 2023, at 5:05 p.m. Colombia Time (UTC-05:00) during the “WCPD Interactive Talk I” session.

The study by Erika Barbara Abreu Fonseca Thomaz of the Federal University of Maranhão, São Luís, Brazil, aimed to analyze indicators of oral health services use in primary health care (PHC) in Maranhão, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was an ecological interrupted time seriesstudy whose unit of analysis was the Maranhão state, in the Brazilian Northeast, part of the Legal Amazon. The series interrupt variable (exposure) was the COVID-19 pandemic, dichotomized into pre (January 2015 to March 2020) and pandemic (April 2020 to June 2021). The outcome variables were calculated by the ratio between the number of oral health procedures and the State population size, multiplied by one thousand, monthly. The oral health procedures were extracted from the Brazilian Public Health Information Systems, and organized in preventive (NPP-PHC), urgency (NUP-PHC) and curative (NCP-PHC) procedures. The population size was estimated according to the census projection. Regression coefficients (Xreg) were estimated by Seasonal Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (SARIMA) (Alpha=5%). 

The SARIMA models with better fit parameters were: (0.1.0) (1.0.0) in NPP-PHC; (2.1.0) (1.0.0) in NUP-PHC; and (0,1,0) (1,0,0) in NCP-PHC. The pandemic was associated with a significant reduction in NPP-PHC and NCP-PHC in the first pandemic semester [NPP-PHC (Xreg=-7.18; P<0.001) and NCP-PHC (Xreg=-5.61; P<0.001)], after twelve months [NPP-PHC (Xreg=-7.19; P<0.001) and NCP-PHC (Xreg=-5.62; P<0.001)] and after eighteen months [NPP-PHC (Xreg=-6.52; P<0.001) and NCP-PHC (Xreg=-5.18; P<0.001)], but pandemic was not associated with the NUP-PHC (P>0.05).

The study concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic had effects on the reduction of access to dental services in the public Brazilian PHC in a prolonged way.

About IADR
The International Association for Dental Research (IADR) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to drive dental, oral, and craniofacial research for health and well-being worldwide. IADR represents the individual scientists, clinician-scientists, dental professionals, and students based in academic, government, non-profit and private-sector institutions who share our mission. Learn more at