One year of CED work on COVID-19


The Council of European Dentists (CED) published its “One year of CED work on COVID-19”, a synopsis of the COVID-19 consequences on dentistry and dentists in Europe. The evidence-based document summarises the results of 20 surveys exploring the impact that the pandemic had on dental practices, the challenges faced by the profession and concludes with the main findings and lessons learned for the future.

From March 2020 to April 2021, the CED has devoted a considerable amount of focus to the public health crisis, in order to understand the impact that it has on oral health and dentistry and ensure that the sector is able to recover and continue to respond to the needs of the patients.

In this period, provision of dental care was limited to emergencies and routine care was restricted or paused in 67% (n=21) to 100% (n=31) of cases. More than 58% (n=17) reported shortages and lack of access to appropriate equipment, such as masks, goggles, surgical gowns and visors, from April to June 2020. Moreover, multiple countries flagged increased costs associated with infection control and urged for dentists to be included in the vaccination priority groups.

After a full year of living with the pandemic, it is safe to state that dentistry is an essential part of healthcare. During second and third waves, many practices across Europe have been able to remain open despite additional lockdowns because data showed that there are no additional infection risks in dental practices. In more than 77% cases (n=15) national dental associations did not report an increase in the infection rate of dentists. Moreover, the majority of COVID-19 infections did not originate from professional settings, as reported by the respondents.

The dental infection statistics gathered from the CED surveys show the remarkably low incidence of COVID-19 in dental offices, which allows us to conclude that there does not appear to be a grave danger of being exposed to COVID-19 in dental settings, particularly as the pandemic is decelerating.

Our main messages deriving from the survey series and other related CED work are the following:

  • Evidence shows that dentistry is safe for dental patients, the dental team and dentists themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic. The effective patient safety and infection control protocols in dental settings prevent additional infection risks, increasing the confidence to return to dental practices.
  • It is of outmost importance that dental practices always have access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Under these circumstances, it is crucial that the price of PPE do not constitute an additional financial burden for the dental team and sufficient equipment is available for dentists to conduct their activity.
  • It is essential that cross-border health threats do not disrupt the continuity of provision of dental care. Oral care, including routine check-ups, dental cleaning and prevention, are essential healthcare. Postponing dental treatments has negative impact on patients’ oral and general health and creates or exacerbates oral health inequalities.
  • It is crucial that dentists receive government support in extraordinary cases of work disruption, such as pandemics and other serious health threats, because of the significant potential economic burden.
  • Dentists are essential healthcare workers and it is paramount that they are prioritised, alongside other healthcare professionals, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The CED encourages dentists to get vaccinated, as builders of public trust. Dentists have a key-role in helping promote vaccination against COVID-19 among the general public.



For more information contact:
CED Brussels Office
Tel: + 32 2 736 34 29

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