With the restrictions being applied and recommended to dental practice at these times comes difficulties and opportunities.
At present we cannot as dentists be treating everybody and every patient in any way that we want to, as we did before.
There are huge expectations from the community and from authorities that dentists act appropriately to protect the general public from the COVID-19 virus.
And dental practices need to be mindful of their responsibilities.
The dental profession has a role to play
The public look to the dental profession to be intelligent and to act responsibly.
That is why, two weeks ago in Sydney, the Australian Dental Industry decided to close its exhibition to the dental profession one day early.
Because the public expected dentists to “know better”, and not to congregate in large groups.
And so the organisers ended the exhibition early, despite the fact that government restrictions on large gatherings were not going to come into force until AFTER the exhibition was due to be completed.
It was the correct thing for the profession to be seen to be doing.
At that time.
And now the profession needs to be seen to be leading.
The Australian Dental Association has listed a series of “levels” of practice relating to and depending on the status of the COVID-19 virus in the community.
These levels have been created to limit those areas of dental practice that are seen to be less urgent, and are also seen to be increasing the possibility of spread of the virus.
And although there appears to be no “official” instruction from any official regulatory authority, the profession is being seen to be acting appropriately and adopting these guidelines and levels AHEAD OF TIME, and not after the fact, which I think is a good thing.
Whether a dental practice is or is not in a financial position to limit its scope of practice or shut down or not is really irrelevant in this current climate of uncontrolled virus spread.
The profession must be seen to be doing all that it can to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Sadly though, there are some dentists out there who do NEED THE CASH, every last cent, and are behaving accordingly.
I’ve told the story for ten years now how Dr Omer Reed said to me in 2010 that ninety-five percent of dentists reaching the age of sixty-five cannot afford to retire and need to keep on working.
And that’s what is happening here sadly….
Most dentists do not have a stockpile of cash put away to use during emergency times such as these.
And so, difficult decisions are being needed to be made…
Seek professional help
It’s said that a lawyer who defends himself in court has a fool for a client.
And the phrase, “Physician heal thyself” is a tongue-in-cheek poke at medical doctors who treat their own ailments rather than seeking a colleague’s advice.
By the same token, a business owner WITH A COACH, is more likely to make better decisions than a business owner without a coach.
What I’m seeing
I’m seeing a lot of dentists out there closing their dental practices and CANCELLING their patient appointments.
What the smart dentists are doing
The smarter more savvy dentists are not closing their practice.
These smarter dentists are staying open so that callers to their practice can be advised of the best things to do.
Many phone calls to a dental practice from new patients are about non-urgent treatment that can be scheduled at a later date.
And although we don’t know EXACTLY when the restrictions to practice will be lifted, we do know that they will be lifted.
And so the smart dentists out there are scheduling appointments for new patients and for existing patients to some specific time in the future, knowing that it’s easier to reschedule an already made appointment, as opposed to making and creating an appointment that has never been made.
If you’d like to know the best things to say to your patients, both new and existing, during these difficult times, then be on the webinar I’ll be doing on Tuesday afternoon 4:00pm AEST Sydney time with Jayne Bandy, where we will be covering the very latest things to do and not to do with your dental practice in these difficult and daunting times.