Like many of you, I am soon to start my eighth week at home as a result of the Missouri directives. We are reading, watching and listening to the chatter about the business of post-pandemic dentistry and how this is going to affect the value and sale your practice. Part three of a four-part series, “what I would be doing if” I were a Mid-career Dentist will have a little different punchline than Part One or Two.
Let me emphasize again that technology is going to become much more important going forward as are demonstratively higher standards of infection control. Those that are behind the curve will find themselves with patients and even staff who are reluctant to come to your office. Until a reliable vaccine is found and made universally available, those who have endured weeks, if not months, of quarantine will be very demanding.
Here’s what I would be doing if I were a Mid-career dentist, regardless of whether my practice was Metro, Suburban or Rural. Unless you are compelled to relocate or recareer, you do not have time to call our office tomorrow morning or any other time in the near future as you need to get busy. With the myriad of confusing projections, plans, guidelines and limitations being suggested by the likes of the CDC, NIH, ADA and others, you should be spending every available hour planning how you are going to go forward in the best interest of your staff, your patients, your family and yourself. Golf games can wait as, after your family, you need to be taking care of your business.
- I would be researching negative airflow systems for my office along with any other proven air treatment equipment.
- I would be strategizing with my staff about aerosol spray management and surface cleaning.
- I would be trying to figure out how to safely treat enough patients in a day to be able to pay my overhead.
- I would be very thankful that a person of influence convinced me to have six months of emergency funds available in ready cash so that I can still put food on the table while we figure out how to get through a crisis.
- I would be remembering back to the waterline controversy twenty years ago and how we managed patient fears about a dental office being a dangerous place. To that end, I would be planning my marketing strategy to reassure patients and my community that we were a safe and conscientious place to come to.
- I would make sure that my membership in organized dentistry (read that ADA, State and local societies) was up to date and that I was planning to be an active participant. Maybe I don’t agree with every initiative but the sheer magnitude of this situation calls for strength in numbers. You need a voice at a high level.
- Lastly, I would remind myself that we are members of a privileged profession that has always enjoyed the respect of the community and that you are the backbone that will get us to the other side of this.
Not to worry, our company has been here 27 years and we’ll be here when the time is right.
Steve Wolff, DDS
UMKC Class of 1977