Dentaltown May 2020 - 8

professional courtesy
column

Your New Reality Awaits
I'm writing this column a month after the economy
came to a grinding halt and my dental practice entered
a strange hibernation where we'd see only emergency
patients. This moment will serve as the dividing line in
the history of my practice, which will be split between life
"before coronavirus" (BC) and "after coronavirus" (AC).
I've focused on looking ahead to life AC because
there's so much to do before we can go back to work.
Even when we do, it won't be business as usual at first.

based on local conditions, but you can sleep well at
night knowing that the long-term need for your skills
has not disappeared. Depending on your current age,
you have already seen some major economic downturns.
The severity of this public health crisis has reminded
at least a few of my patients that putting off treatment
recommendations will come back to bite you at a most
inconvenient time.

A lot of questions ahead
I've applied for the various loan programs but haven't
yet received a response. The long-term financial impact
on our practices will not show predictable trends for
the next six months. We must first sort out the patients
who've lost their jobs, the patients who are still afraid of
getting sick because they have pre-existing conditions,
and the time it will take people who are working to
replenish their savings accounts.
In the coming months, we'll hear plenty of discussion
about testing for COVID-19. The point-of-care rapid
antibody tests sound promising as a potential screening
tool in our practices but can register a positive result
for other members of the coronavirus family, and we're
currently not permitted to administer these tests.
Coming back to work will require several precautions
and operational changes for the sake of your patients
and team. Some of the changes we have planned in my
practice: limited seating in reception; patients allowed
to wait in car; magazines removed; face shields for team;
health reminders in appointment emails; no-touch
thermometers to check patient temperatures upon
arrival; disinfection of nonclinical surfaces throughout
the day. Many dentists on Dentaltown have discussed
various approaches to upgrading
the air quality in their practices;
I've decided to install a UV light
system in each of the air handlers in
my practice.
Rest assured, you'll see demand for
dental services right away, thanks to
patients who had only minor problems
but elected to stay home rather than
bother you with an emergency call.
The initial procedure mix may change

Community-based support and learning
One final lesson learned so far is the power of
remote connection. Dentaltown lives by the motto
"Where no dentist will ever have to practice solo again,"
and the COVID-19 crisis made everyone feel alone as
professionals. The explosion of activity on our message
boards was palpable, and it's been refreshing to see
dentists helping each other with an entirely new topic.
I held a virtual team meeting, attended the Western
Regional Dental Convention online and many other
educational webinars. Distance learning is a wonderful
tool, but just like a virtual happy hour on Zoom, it
won't replace the real thing. I'm looking forward to the
next major live dental meeting-possibly CDA North
in San Francisco or the American Dental Association
meeting in Orlando, Florida. We can expect to see
some new products that companies had been forced
to hold back because of our current situation. Once
again, the conversations will return to the things we
love: teeth and gums.
Please share your comments under the digital version
of this article online at dentaltown.com. You can also
reach me by email: tom@dentaltown.com. ■

by Thomas Giacobbi, DDS, FAGD, editorial director, Dentaltown magazine

8

MAY 2020 // dentaltown.com

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Dentaltown May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dentaltown May 2020

Dentaltown May 2020 - Cover1
Dentaltown May 2020 - Cover2
Dentaltown May 2020 - 1
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