Ada Hpi

New ADA HPI research brief projects 66.5% reduction in dental spending for 2020

May 4, 2020
Additional ADA surveying finds only 14% of dental practices fully paid their staffs in late April.

As part of its ongoing research into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the American Dental Association (ADA) Health Policy Institute (HPI) has released a research brief titled Modeling the Impact of COVID-19 on U.S. Dental Spending.1 The brief, authored by Drs. Kamyar Nasseh and Marko Vujicic, utilizes data collected from ongoing ADA surveys of dental practices and makes projections as to the impact on dental spending in 2020 and 2021.

The 14-page report focuses on different scenarios of how the dental economy will be affected by limited dental practice, social distancing, and the recovery of the US economy. Although there is a high degree of uncertainty as to how events will unfold, the report projects:

  • The dental economy may likely return to 80% of pre-pandemic levels by the second fiscal quarter of 2021.
  • Total dental spending for 2020 may likely be $49.6 billion, a 66.5% reduction from projected pre-pandemic levels.
  • Total dental spending for 2021 may likely be $104.3 billion, a 32.3% reduction from projected pre-pandemic levels.

The authors of the brief note, "While there is [significant] uncertainty, given the current data and economic forecast as well as the path of recovery for the dental economy post-Great Recession, we feel this is the most likely scenario."

The ADA HPI has also released findings from its latest surveying of US dental practices. The survey from the week of April 20, 2020, of approximately 12,000 dental practices found:

  • 14% of practices were paying their staffs fully (compared to 27% the week prior); and
  • 49% of practices were not paying their staffs at all (compared to 28% the week prior).

More information may be found at the following links:


  1. Nasseh K, Vujicic M. Modeling the impact of COVID-19 on U.S. dental spending. Health Policy Institute Research Brief. American Dental Association. April 2020.

Zachary Kulsrud is the group editorial director for Endeavor Business Media's dental group, publishers of Dental EconomicsDentistryIQPerio-Implant Advisory, and RDH magazine.


CDC updates reopening guidance for dental settings (Published April 28, 2020)

American Dental Hygienists' Association issues Interim Guidance on Returning to Work (Published May 3, 2020)

Editor's note: This article first appeared in the Morning Briefing, a daily newsletter published by Dental EconomicsDentistryIQPerio-Implant Advisory, and RDHLearn more and subscribe here. 

For full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, visit the DentistryIQ COVID-19 Resource Center.