The dental industry has weathered an exaggerated version of the pandemic’s economic impact, experiencing both a steeper decline and a faster recovery than other sectors. Half of all dental workers lost their jobs in March and April as states closed businesses to slow the virus’s spread. The industry accounted for a staggering 35 percent of all health care jobs lost in those months, even though its workers make up just 6 percent of the industry, according to analysis of federal data by the nonprofit Altarum Institute.

How long it takes those jobs to come back entirely will be a crucial indicator of whether Americans feel safe returning to normal activities, and if they have the economic means to do so.

“I’m obsessed with dentists because, if the only thing we’re doing is putting the economy on pause, and then going back to normal, all of them should be coming back,” Ms. Stevenson said. “We’re not really recovered until all the dentists are back to work.”…

By early May, 33 percent of dental offices had hired their full staffs back. The number rose to 58 percent by mid-May and, most recently, hit 77 percent the first week of June.