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Should I close my dental office or remain open?

These are uncertain times, to put it mildly. Never before have we been faced with decisions that are changing so quickly and drastically. Many dentists are unsure of what to do for their patients, their team and their office. Should you close your office as recommended or should you remain open?

It has been suggested that non-essential/elective treatment be stopped. What does that mean? In dentistry, we feel that all treatment is essential. Decay, periodontal disease, even cosmetic dentistry, can be deemed essential. The physical health of the patient (decay and periodontal disease) or mental health (cosmetic dentistry) is important. We do not want to diminish any of this. At the same time, the spread of the COVID-19 virus must be slowed for the sake of our healthcare system, and economy.

The question remains, should dentists open the practice or not? Dr. Bobbi Stanley, co-owner of Stanley Dentistry suggests putting a temporary strategy in place to take care of patients, while also protecting your team and their families. What does this look like?

Phones should stay open

Your phone team can answer any calls as well as make calls to inactive patients. This is the time to implement your reactivation protocol and reach out to all patient who have not been in the office for 18 months or greater. If you are uncertain on this protocol, contact us and we can assist.

Consider opening for limited hours

Consider opening with limited team members (one doctor, one assistant and one administrator). Schedule all emergencies, decay, broken teeth, etc. that are already on the schedule. You may want to consider scheduling hygiene for any periodontal patients during this limited time. In addition to the standard universal healthcare precautions, add more intense health and safety measures.

Your marketing team should be working full time. Marketing team members normally have isolated areas where they can work in the office away from patients and other team members. This is the perfect time to strategize about positioning yourself as the dental leader in your community.

Fluid approach

Dr. Stanley suggests the possibility of the aforementioned limited schedule for one week and a re-evaluation of the evolving situation at the end of the week. It has been suggested that dental offices close for three weeks. This limited schedule may be needed for three weeks. However, prudence suggests a wait and assess as events unfold.

Dr. Bobbi Stanley has more advice to offer based on her 25+ years as a dentist and business owner and will be addressing subjects like, virtual consults, best use for the doctor’s free time and how to continue paying the team, in the coming days.