The report, which includes the responses of 283 ACE Panel member dentists, found that 41% of respondents offer counsel only, 8% offer both counseling and treatment, 1% offer treatment only, and 49% offer neither. Of the 49% who said they offer neither, a quarter indicated they were current or past smokers, vapers, or smokeless tobacco product users.
"Historically, the incidence of smoking peaks during global crises — for example, the world wars, recession, etc. A similar trend was observed during the recent COVID-19 pandemic," said Purnima Kumar, D.D.S., Ph.D., one of the report's co-authors and a member of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs' ACE Panel Oversight Subcommittee. "Not just that, but early evidence suggested that smokers and vapers were at greater risk for COVID. This began a discussion within the ACE Panel about how dentists handle these habits and incorporate smoking/vaping cessation into their patient education protocols. Dentists have the opportunity to see patients much more frequently than our medical colleagues and, therefore, are better positioned to counsel them."
Of the dentists who indicated they offer smoking cessation counseling or treatment, 90% said they were involved in those conversations with patients, either alone or with a dental team member, and 69% said they would be willing to prescribe pharmacologic agents to help with cessation.
Awareness about medical benefits for smoking cessation counseling and treatment and surgical protocols for current smokers, vapers, and smokeless tobacco product users varied among survey participants. Out of all the respondents, 40% were aware smoking cessation counseling and treatment is part of most medical benefits, and 82% said they perform surgeries on patients who smoke, vape, or use smokeless tobacco products.
Of those who perform surgeries, 50% will recommend surgical implant placement to these patients, and 45% require these patients to alter their use of smoking, vaping, and smokeless tobacco products.
Dentists can view the entire ACE Panel report online and download the PDF at https://jada.ada.org/
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