Dental utilization adversely affected by coronavirus

The economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic are just starting to be felt and will likely intensify for some time to come. For dental offices, whose production is closely tied to consumer disposable income, an economic recession can cause major changes in patient traffic and the types of services sought.

While an economic downturn alone affects demand for dental services, this time the downturn is preceded by a period of depressed demand for services due to provider-driven, patient-driven, and broader community-driven efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. As such, there is the potential for two phases of utilization impact, each with unique characteristics.

In this article, Milliman’s Joanne Fontana and Tom Murawski explore the potential effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the dental industry, considering changes in utilization of dental services that could result from the pandemic and its containment efforts as well as the economic ramifications that are already starting to occur and may last for some time.