Emergency Dental Office Closures Are Rare
Emergency dental office closures are an indication that something big is happening. Why? Because it just doesn’t happen. Dental offices simply do not close for much at all. However, as I write this article today, the state of California has advised dental practices in our state to close for routine dental care for the next 14 days. Because something BIG is here. COVID-19 continues to take the world by storm. And we all are doing our very best to slow it down.
Growing up in the beautiful state of New Hampshire, I’ve seen a few “blizzards”. And I mean full-on blizzards. With ice so severe, power lines and trees would break in half. Snow so deep I would wonder if the shoveling would ever end. Long lines at the grocery stores and no frozen pizza to be found! Serious stuff! No school for two weeks! And we enjoyed the blizzards and the way the world slowed for a minute!
What’s Different Here?
Even in our severe New Hampshire blizzards, our dental practices remained open. When it seemed like everything else was closed, you could still go to the dentist! And it would be some of our busiest days in practice. Adults were home from work, kids were home from school. It was a great opportunity to take care of that hygiene appointment you missed. Or maybe even complete that restorative work you couldn’t make time for!
When a state of emergency was declared, the dental team played on! And we enjoyed our “state of emergency” because of the way it brought people together. That’s the biggest difference I feel with our current state. We are told as a people to stay away from each other right now. And to practice social distancing. It is anxiety producing and stressful. Because when times get tough we want to come together, hug on each other, laugh a little, and assure one another it’s going to be okay.
Emergency Dental Office Closures Will Continue
Emergency dental office closures are understandable. Especially as dental office team members develop symptoms. Or as team members need to stay home to care for children or other sick family members. As there just may not be enough of us to pull off keeping the practice open. But hopefully, this will be a very short-lived window of time.
There are other options to consider. Over the past few days I have talked with practices who are all doing as much as they can to stay open. Because dental practices want to provide care for patients. And employers want to know their employees have income. It’s what we all do in the world of dentistry. We care for one another in a big way!
What Can We Do?
Some dental practices are seeing dental emergencies only. All routine hygiene appointments are postponed. Even scheduled restorative treatment than can wait is being delayed. But these practices are seeing emergency patients or completing treatment that is best done sooner rather than later. This is a great way to keep the population of patients down that may be coming in and out of the practice. Which is huge!
Carry on with our usual precautionary measures and more! Some dental practices are advising patients not to bring anyone with them to their appointment unless necessary. That only the actual person with an appointment is allowed into the office. Offices are offering to text patients when their treatment room is ready for them. And they are asking patients to wait in the car until they receive the text. Magazines, toys, and other materials have been removed from waiting areas. Patients are asked to wash their hands upon arrival or sanitize.
Emergency Dental Office Closures Bring Opportunities
Emergency dental office closures can help us in the world of dentistry to think outside our box. If we do need to close our office doors for a time, how can we still maintain? Are there tasks that the administrative team or a team member can still perform from the office or from home? Is there someone who would like to answer the phones? Or come into thoroughly clean the front desk area? Reorganize!
Consider cleaning up the software database. Or maybe redecorating a little! It doesn’t take much to spruce things up around the office? And everyone will feel better when all of the dust settles. Pick an area within the practice management that you might like to improve. Take some time to really think about your normal day to day routines and what you have always wanted to change.
What Does Your Dental Practice Need Now?
Alone time can be great planning time! What does your dental front office need? If we are being called to take a time out, let’s put it to good use? Maybe you’ve purchased a course or a membership here and you haven’t really taken the time to work through it. There is a ton of material for you here. And please keep in mind, that every little administrative change we make produces a much bigger result than the change required of us.
Take advantage of the time you have. Trust that this will pass. As all things do. We have the best of the best taking care of us. The best experts in the world are on it! Let’s focus on what we know best! As a dental practice administrator, you know your weak spot. Would you like more routine hygiene reactivation? Stronger collection numbers? Better scheduling templates? Some phone skills or scripts? I’m here for you! And am literally just an email or text away!
We Are In This Together!
Dentistry brings people together! Dentistry helps people smile! It’s all about people! So, it’s understandable that we would all be in a bit of a state of shock that we might need to close our doors or reduce our daily schedules. That’s not how we roll.