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Reopen

Guidance and supplies to help dentists get back to work

May 11, 2020
As some states begin to reopen for dental care in a limited fashion, dentists must tackle the new challenge of restarting their practices' engines. Dr. Chris Salierno shares some of the best tools to provide guidance.
Chris Salierno, DDS, Chief Editor, Dental Economics

The COVID-19 pandemic forced dental offices across the country to close except for emergency treatment. Dentists faced the challenges of temporarily laying off their employees, deferring as many expenses as possible, and scrambling for small business loans. Now, as some states begin to reopen for dental care in a limited fashion, dentists must tackle the new challenge of restarting their practices’ engines.  

Of course, this is not a simple matter of opening the doors and going back to providing care as usual. Perhaps most concerning are the regulatory matters. Take Texas for example, whose State Board of Dentistry voted on April 29 to allow dentists to resume performing elective procedures and nonurgent care. This is in opposition to the CDC’s recommendation that nonurgent and elective procedures be postponed. The discrepancy has led to a host of debates on what procedures can be done and how patients and team members can be kept safe, debates that include the dental hygiene community and state governor.

Without consistent guidance from federal and state agencies, dental office staffs are left to themselves to interpret the conflicting messages. Fortunately, there are examples of groups that are providing actionable resources to aid dentists in their quest to reopen successfully and responsibly.

The ADA’s Interim Guidance for Minimizing Risk of COVID-19 Transmission provides a step-by-step protocol for office preparedness and patient flow. This document draws from the latest recommendations from the CDC and OSHA so that dentists can be sure they’re operating under compliance.

There is much confusion about what technologies and personal protective equipment (PPE) will be effective in keeping dental offices safe. Drs. Gordon and Rella Christensen have released their review of available materials and have made recommendations on which perform the best.

The Henry Schein Thrive Practice Recovery Program is an example of how manufacturers can create a suite of solutions to help dentists to get back to work. The program includes services such as orders of necessary PPE, access to patient communication platforms, and discounts and financing strategies to help dentists purchase equipment and supplies.

Here's to your future success!

Chris

Editor's note: To view DentistryIQ's full coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, including original news articles, video interviews, and downloadable forms, visit the DentistryIQ COVID-19 Resource Center.