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We will make it through this challenging time … together

March 17, 2020
In her first note as editor of Dental Assisting Digest, Tija Hunter offers a message of hope and support to her peers during this trying time of isolation and job shutdowns.

As news about COVID-19 grows, so does the panic and realization that this isn’t going away anytime soon. As we watch daily, restaurants, shops, bars, parks, museums, and other establishments are being ordered to close down temporarily in order to keep the spread of the disease to a minimum. This is something that many of us have not seen in our lifetimes, and we hope to never see again.

On Monday, March 16, the American Dental Association (ADA) called upon dentists to postpone elective treatment for three weeks and see patients only for emergency dental care. This move was much needed to help decrease the number of people affected. Dentists, as small business owners, must face the very difficult decision to close and only render emergency services, a decision none of them are facing lightly.

As dentists shut down, their bills still come in. They’re responsible for the livelihoods of those who work for them, which makes their decisions that much more difficult. Those of us working in the practices, no matter what position, are being asked either to not come in or to keep very limited working hours. And this is essentially with little or no pay. But guess what? Our bills also continue to come in.

Almost hourly the landscape of this virus and how we’re dealing with it is changing. On Tuesday, March 17, as I was writing this article, the government was working on a bill that would compensate workers during the shutdown. As the days unfold, we will learn more about how these programs will work and what we need to do to take advantage of them. We are in this together, and we will learn together.

Our country and much of the world is scared, but there is good news. Crisis, in all of its hardships, tends to bring people together. Even though we have all heard about the toilet paper hoarders and the hand sanitizer Grinches who have caused stampedes at local markets, there is some good. And I believe that good nearly always outweighs the bad.

We will get through this. While this is a big bump in the road, it’s also a time for all of us to come together and help each other. Even though we are in self-imposed quarantine, people still need each other. Elderly people are at the greatest risk of contracting COVID-19. Reach out not only to them, but to your neighbors, family, and friends to check on them. If you need something, ask. More people want to help than you realize.

Remember that you are not alone in your frustrations and fears. Look for the good in everything you do, and there is so much good to do! We are a community of people who care for other people on a daily basis. We have the power to impact lives no matter where we are.

Hopefully, in a few short weeks our country and world will recover from this challenging time and before long, it will all be a distant memory. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out and support each other.

Tija Hunter, CDA, EFDA, CDIA, CDSO, CDSH, MADAA, is a member and current vice president of the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), where she holds the honor of Master. Tija is the editor of Dental Assisting Digest and contributes to Dental Economics magazine. She is the director of the Dental Careers Institute, a dental assisting and dental continuing education program, and the author of seven continuing education study courses. She is an international speaker and a certified trainer in nitrous oxide in several states. She can be reached at [email protected].