Changes from COVID-19 will impact dental practices, but we must look to future opportunities.
Dr. Justin D. Moody reflects on quarantine and a new outlook after the COVID-19 crisis
As I sit down to right this column, I’m reflecting on the rapid and drastic changes that we have all experienced. At the time that I am writing this, dental offices are all closed, everyone is sheltering in place to help lower the outbreak of Covid-19, and the world has turned to social media to answer all its questions. I have to admit that the first 10 days or so of being home have been like a real life version of the movie “Groundhog Day.”
Now that I have watched “Tiger King” and “Ozark” and joined every Facebook group known to man, it is time to focus on what is going to be important moving forward. Amazing opportunities and (hopefully) better human beings will arise out of these trying times. Family is always what grounds us, and I am sure that everyone has a new outlook on that, but what about ourselves? As the leaders in our offices, we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. We worry about our team, our patients, and the financial stability of our practices.
Our team: What they need more than anything right now is your leadership, reassurance, and calm. During this time that our offices are closed, check in on the team. Engage them to help build a plan to come back better than ever. What we know is that there will be a new normal that comes from this within our office that will most likely come in the form of heightened personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, social distancing in the waiting rooms, and countless gallons of hand sanitizer!
Our patients: They are confused about how dentistry fits into their total health today. They are concerned about their safety at the office and will be more concerned about money as they likely have less disposable income. Reach out to them, and let them know that you will be open soon, that their health is still the most important thing to you, and that their teeth are a vital component to total health. Be understanding of their finances while educating them on the costs of no treatment and/or the wrong treatment. You see the edentulous areas and non-restorable teeth are still there. The challenge will be to show them the value and need for dental implants and a true tooth replacement solution.
Our financial security: This will come with doing the right thing for the patients every time. When they see that you are genuinely concerned and care for their well-being, your patients will likely choose the right treatment option. The new norm here may be to pay down debt, to invest in equipment and education that will make a real difference in the practice, and to always maintain a cash reserve or line of credit for when the next issue comes up, which it will.
Thank you to all for taking the time to read this column, to MedMark’s Implant Practice US team for this opportunity, and to my own family and friends for your continued support. We will get back to the people and things we love! The future is still very bright!
For more insights on changes from COVID-19, read the “ADA Health Policy Institute Examines Impact of COVID-19 on Dentistry” here.