Background: Dentists are more at risk of respiratory infectious diseases, compared to other Health Care Workers (HCWs).
Objectives: This study aimed to determine the relationship of knowledge, attitude, and fear with Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) preventive measures amongst Iranian dentists.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in the northern provinces of Iran. In total, 340 dentists were selected using a multi-stage sampling method, and they were requested to complete the data collection tools, such as demographic characteristics form, knowledge scale, fear scale, attitude scale, and COVID-19 preventive measures scale. The obtained data were then analyzed by independent t-test, chi-square test, one-way ANOVA, correlation coefficient, and stepwise regression.
Results: Dentists' knowledge about issues, such as incubation period, laboratory test, virus survival time on surfaces, and method disinfection was weak. Nearly, 60% of the dentists had a favorable attitude towards the prevention of COVID-19, while their belief was not good on issues, such as adequacy of routine protocols, vulnerability towards COVID-19, suppressed immune system, patient's responsibility, and stigma. Moreover, 82.1% of dentists were fearful of being infected by patients, providing treatment to the suspected ones, the possibility of transmitting the infection to family members, post-infection quarantine, and treatment costs. Additionally, the total score of practice toward COVID-19 preventive measures in dentists was relatively high (21.88±3.8), whereas their practice in criteria, such as presenting a special disinfectant solution or mask for patients, disinfecting surfaces, air conditioning, and examining patients' symptoms was not satisfactory. Regression analysis demonstrated that job history, knowledge, attitude, and fear were significant predictors of dentists' practice describing 62.7% of the variance in practice towards COVID-19 preventive measures.
Conclusion: The findings revealed that dentists had a comparatively good level of knowledge, attitude, and practice towards COVID-19 preventive measures. The current study suggests that dentists' anxiety, fear, and attitude could be remarkably reduced through providing adequate Personal Protective Equipment and subsequently enhancing preventive practice, raising awareness via online training regarding new guidelines, and presenting real-time statistics on the number of HCWS infected with COVID-19.
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