NAPA – North Adriatic Ports Association

How a Worldwide Pandemic Will Change the Dental Industry Forever

Back in October 2015, blood samples have been collected from 218 villagers throughout Jinning County in China. The local villages are surrounded by caves that have been known to host coronavirus-carrying bats. Of the blood samples that were taken, nearly 3% of those carried antibodies against the SARS-like coronavirus. None of the villagers had recently come into contact with any bats or had exhibited clinical symptoms. In fact, this would be the first recorded instance of a bat to human coronavirus transmission.

Fast-Forward to 2020

It would seem that the coronavirus pandemic came out of nowhere. It is a worldwide phenomenon of the kind that economists have labelled a black swan, a rare event that brings with it severe consequences. Pandemics will typically result in global recessions, which is exactly what has been happening during the first half of 2020. The economy was already struggling and in a fragile state before the outbreak. Coronavirus has impacted every business worldwide since its initial appearance. Not only did it shut down the Dow Jones, which managed to crash at 30% from its historic high it only achieved the prior month. Every business sector has been affected one way or another throughout this event.

The Overall Effects of Coronavirus on the Dentistry Profession

Dental professionals are now facing a challenge they were never prepared for. There is not one dental school worldwide that could’ve ever prepared for a situation like we are facing, one in which there has been a prolonged period of interruption.

Patient Management

Dental practices have been using a wide variety of methods including voice messages, social media, email and postal mailers to inform patients about office closures. Patient screening protocols similar to those created by the American Association of Endodontists should continue once restrictions have been lifted. Services such as teeth fillings in Fleet have to be delivered differently.

Step Management

One of the most damaging impacts of a dental practice being closed indefinitely has been the effect on staff salaries. Dental staffs around the country and worldwide have been dramatically affected as to their financial concerns. Unemployment insurance will only take an individual so far and considering the vast majority of practice owners have been financially compromised to extenuating circumstances, the upcoming steps by the federal government will be watched closely by dental professions for the next few weeks.

Hiring Dental Associates and Hygienists

There has been much confusion among dental graduates with the process of hiring patterns due to the current pandemic. Typical vacancies in a dental practice will generally serve one of two purposes which can include the replacement of an associate who is leaving or expanding a office. With the first situation, dentists will typically wait to see how patients will respond. If there is a quick recovery time, there will be an urgent need to hire in order to catch up due to lost time. This may be a trickier situation for corporate jobs. Corporations as well as practice owners will likely respond based upon the response of their financiers adjustment to this new reality. There are going to be a majority of practices who find themselves expanding while others continue to wait for the future. The overall situation will be harder for dental hygienists; however, it will plateau as well. It is believed that this effect will last just for the current hiring cycle and will typically not extend past a few months.

Dental Supply Companies

Personal protective equipment such as face masks, gloves and gowns and the vast majority of surgical, diagnostic and cleaning supplies have been produced by large suppliers in China. Our overall dependence on China will more than likely decrease in the following months and years. This will be excellent news for North American manufacturers.

In all likelihood, this virus will remain with us indefinitely. People will find that it is absolutely essential to change their behaviours, for example shopping online, ordering food online, travelling less, social distancing, and staying home indefinitely.