For well over a year, your dental practice and patients alike experienced the tension of struggling to contain COVID-19.
But now, you can feel it: That energy is coming back. With vaccination efforts in full swing, Americans are steadily (albeit cautiously) returning to normal life.
And even if you’re taking extra precautions, your dental practice needs to return as well.
Here five considerations to help you get there.
1. Look at your schedule
The CDC reports only two out of every three adults saw a dentist in 2019. It’s safe to presume that figure dropped in 2020, which means lots of overdue patients are out there.
On top of that, there will be plenty of patients who chose to wait until the pandemic was over to come in and see you. These people will be eager for routine or delayed services.
On one hand, that means plenty of work, and a major boost to your dental practice’s bottom line. But be careful how crowded that schedule becomes, because all that work could lead to…
2. The next potential crisis
Not taking care of your own health and well-being is a dangerous game to play.
The American Dental Association’s “Dentist Well-Being Programs Handbook” offers an array of important reminders about the mental and physical pressures dentists face in their professional lives.
Fortunately, the handbook also offers suggestions on how to respond to them. If you haven’t read it in a while, now is the time.
More recently, the association has partnered with Chicago-based Hope for the Day to create a series of programs aimed at targeting the mental health and wellness needs of the dental community.
Fit these programs into your schedule. And while you’re doing that…
3. Remember the needs of your team
Dr. Roger Levin, CEO of Levin Group, a leading dental management consulting firm, reminds his colleagues of the importance of keeping the entire team satisfied.
Sometimes it’s the simple things – like a night at the local bowling alley – that lets each person in your office that he or she matters.
There are also some concrete ways to reward your staff, including with a 401K or a bonus plan.
Regardless of how you do it, make sure each person on your team knows they’re valued.
4. Consider different financial strategies.
If you’ve not allowed payment plans for your patients in the past, now might be the time to start.
The pandemic knocked millions of Americans out of work. And although the unemployment rate is rapidly in decline, American families are still recovering from a collapse in their income.
Allowing them to pay over time means they can get the treatments they need, while still being able to afford it.
As a result, patient gratitude, loyalty, and recommendations follow.
During the height of the pandemic, teledentistry gained wide acceptance, providing care to those in need.
Even as your practice returns to pre-pandemic routines, keeping some form of it available can go a long way towards serving patients who otherwise have no access.
It’s incumbent on dentists to do the same.
Re-opening your dental practice - Bringing It All Together
No matter who your patients are, everyone was affected in some manner by the virus – either directly or indirectly. The same holds true for you and your staff.
As life begins approaching normalcy, keeping these considerations in mind will put you, your dental practice, and your patients in a better place.
Prepare for extra patient visits appropriately, and be sure to keep your team motivated and engaged. Consider the special circumstances many of your patients are now facing, and most importantly, take care of your own health and well-being.
It won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it.
About First Choice Dental Lab
We’re a full-service dental lab with locations in Downers Grove, Il. & Wauwatosa, Wi.
We manufacture & customize quality dental restorations for general dentists. We create smiles based on your needs and budget. We’re here to help you give your patients a reason to smile!