How to Re-open a Dental Office in the COVID-19 Era

Infection Control PPE
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COVID-19 is causing the largest reset in the history of dentistry.  As practices get the green light from their states to re-open, dentists face daunting financial, HR, operational and marketing challenges. In this webinar, we’ll orient you toward best practices and requirements for a successful reopening.

Fear is one of the strongest motivating emotions, so there’s no way to overstate your primary objective in reopening:  do everything you can to help your patients become comfortable. A recent poll by a major DSO indicated 71% of patients are uncomfortable seeing a dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Highlights of “New Normal: Re-opening a Dental Office in the COVID-19 Era” Webinar

New patient screening questions and devices: 01:40

  • Key takeaways: All patients should be scanned for symptoms and temperature. Patient history questions should be more comprehensive.

Office setup for social distancing and infection control: 06:50

  • Key takeaways: Reconfigure waiting area to lessen human contact. Consider patient intake outside the office. Consider protective barriers between operatories in multiple operatory rooms.

Making customers feel comfortable: 18:58

  • Key takeaway: Stay in contact with your patients during the shutdown period (even now is not too late).  Create a brief (1-2 minutes) video tour of your office. Show the new ways you are keeping everyone safe and explain basic infection control practices you use.

Creating a strategy for re-opening: 25:50

  • Key takeaways: Focus on your new “gating” elements, which are your staff, patients, and PPE. All three must be managed completely. Everyone must be informed and feel comfortable.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): 29:45

  • Key takeaways: Everyone will wear a mask to mitigate risk from aerosols from both procedures and interaction with potentially COVID-19-infected persons. Follow the OSHA COVID-19 recommendations.  Patients should always wear a mask except during treatment.  Protective barriers should exist between operatories in multiple operatory areas.  Hygienists and doctors should wear N95 respirators.

Customer outreach and making appointments: 33:16

  • Key takeaways: Activate your hygienists, who typically hold the closest relationships with patients.  Have them call patients and families to explain the new normal and answer their questions.  Objective is to get the patient scheduled.

Testing: 45:15

  • Key takeaways: All staff should be asymptomatic without exceptions and tested regularly, which is hard to do given the state of testing today. But without this kind of approach it will be challenging to rebuild your patient caseload and maintain an effective team.

Questions?

Please feel free to contact me at don.cohen@healthfirst.com or customerservice@healthfirst.com with any questions, as I and HealthFirst seek to support you in returning to a new normal.

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