As we enter into a new phase post-Covid, there are many industries that have been hit quite hard by the pandemic and are now facing pressures for reopening. Some of these industries include chiropractors, physiotherapists, dermatologists and dentists. The dental industry for example came to a halt like most when the pandemic hit, and many clinics found it incredibly difficult to survive as many can be self-employed or small-scale businesses compared to others. Now as new guidelines are put in place to reopen after months of restrictions, it’s important to consider the toll that the dental industry took during the pandemic and the adjustments needed for this new phase.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit globally, many dental clinics had to either close completely or find ways to adjust to the situation with great caution. Most dental clinics ended up only accepting urgent or emergency appointments and risking catching Covid while at the height of the pandemic. After this, many decided to advise their patients through virtual appointments which are still a great incentive as a means to keep both patients and staff Covid safe until it is absolutely necessary to be seen in person. Already some of the best dental clinics were finding ways to care for their patients and remain in business during the global pandemic.
Within the Ontario region, one Hamilton dental clinic has stated the pronounced pressure on staff to adjust to the new guidelines for opening after struggling to keep their clinics afloat the past few months. Many clinics had to close due to revenue loss, layoffs, or simply not seeing the demand in clients anymore because of Covid anxiety. Others, however, have stayed resilient and are slowly reinstating how important it is not to neglect your dental visit as it has a huge effect on your overall health.
The new guidelines for reopening are a result of added pressure from dentists to governing bodies to protect staff as well as clients to make the shift back to ‘normality’ as easy as possible. Some of these new rules include added Covid screening questions, waiting outside the clinic, staff wearing full PPE in emergency and urgent appointments, longer times between patients and the routine of keeping a safe distance when possible, wearing masks and frequent sanitisation.
This not only makes customers feel safer to visit their dentist again but for the dentists themselves not to catch Covid. Some clinics are still maintaining virtual appointments to minimise contact until necessary and are working longer hours to accommodate the bigger gaps between patients who need to be in the clinic.
Although all these new measures are to reduce stress and anxiety for patients to check in for their dental appointments again after the long break, especially as it can lead to preventing bigger problems. It’s important to consider how difficult it has been for dental clinics this entire time. Between the pressure of closures, restrictions, uncertainty and risk, dentists have had their fair share of stress but are fighting to return to the new normal and in some cases promote dental care more than ever.
Along with many other health practitioners, the transition into reopening is not an easy one, but still manageable. Only time will show which practices have the ability to adjust according and survive in the post-Covid phase.