During the early pandemic, dental offices lost more than half a million jobs. With more offices reopening, 81% of jobs have been regained since the beginning of May.  We are faced with the reality that this pandemic will be here longer than expected. What does this mean for the future of dental practices?
The Oral Health Group states that “Unlike many other businesses, much of this is a deferral of revenue, not the loss of revenue. COVID-19 does not reverse tooth decay or make impacted wisdom teeth go away. Restoration will still need to be done, and those wisdom teeth will still need to be extracted.” Finding effective ways to capture deferred revenue is where dentists can mitigate revenue losses for their dental practices.
Below, Doctor Wheeler of 17th Street Dentistry shares her tips on how she is capturing deferred revenue.
“When the CDC and ADA recommended the halt of elective dental cases (with the exception of emergency procedures), we immediately contacted our patients and updated them on the new guidelines. We also rescheduled non-essential appointments for a later date.
For the first two months, we saw very limited emergency cases and avoided treatments involving aerosol production. We continued staying updated with new guidelines, and purchased a bulk supply of PPE in anticipation of reopening. Once we had enough PPE and worked through logistics, we opened our doors. The most vital PPE we purchased was face shields, gowns, fogger and HOCL maker.
It was important for us to reach out to our patients and continually update them on how our dental office was proceeding amidst the pandemic. I believe our transparency and safety implementations are allowing us to stay afloat. At this point we are slowly capturing our deferred revenue."
In some instances, many dental practices were able to remain open due to an influx of emergency dental care. Dr. Nguyen of Beyond Dental & Implant Center shares his experience.
“Once the Texas Governor mandated to open only emergency cases, we immediately called and rescheduled all our non-essential treatments by email, text and social media. We then continued to treat all patients with emergency dental care. Many surrounding dental offices were closed so we got a lot of emergency referrals from those practices. We also got patients from the internet through our website and social media platforms.
Next, we began ordering PPE such as: masks and face shields. Our sweet patient custom sewed reusable surgical gowns because the ones we ordered were not going to arrive on time. As a precaution, we all got tested to ensure the safety of our staff and patients.
Lastly, we communicated protocols through email, text, and social media to our patients before their appointments. We provided a COVID screening questionnaire via electronic forms. We also continued updating patients on any new PPE protocols and reminded them to come alone for their appointments. Once they arrived, they would be expected to remain in the car, where they would receive a temperature check before being admitted into the dental office.
It was important for us to stay up to date with any new mandates from our governor, adapt to those changes and effectively communicate this to our patients. Implementing all these changes allowed us to maintain our revenue during the pandemic.”
We know that COVID-19 has affected dental practices differently, and your response is dictated by your circumstances. We also believe that having an open dialogue with our dental community is important and would love to hear your experiences and comments below.
By Ronda Lovas | firstname.lastname@example.org
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