As of Thursday afternoon, the U.S. has officially hit more than 10,000 on the number of coronavirus cases. There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has become one of the most severe outbreaks in recent history.
It is anticipated that this pandemic will destroy the world economy, and no industry will be safe from the attack of this novel virus. The dental industry is going to be one of the most affected due to several reasons.
Dentists are at the highest risk
According to the New York Times, health care workers, especially dentists, are at the highest risk to contract coronavirus among all occupations.
Dentists can easily be exposed to the virus because they always work in close proximity to their patients and one another.
Counties around the country are ordering residents to stay at home and non-essential businesses to close for three weeks
Dentists are considered to be essential personnel, and therefore, they are not enforced by law to stop their businesses.
However, the American Dental Association (ADA), are recommending dentists nationwide to postpone elective procedures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus and preserve the supply of personal protective equipment in the next three weeks. Dental offices should focus solely on emergency dental care.
According to the ADA, dentists should only treat patients who are in pain, have an infection, or nontreatment will negatively impact their health in the next three to six months. Additionally, patients who have new treatments requiring the removal of sutures would also be considered appropriate for treatment.
As a result, several dental offices around the country are announcing that they will be closed in the next few weeks.
A massive drop in the number of patients
Dental offices will see much fewer patients, as patients are now reluctant to go anywhere except the supermarkets, and there are also lockdowns across the country.
Our dentists predict that they will see a 90% decrease in the number of patients. Small dental offices that see about 20 patients a day may now only see just 2. If the situation does not improve, some practices may only see as much as three patients per month.
A steep decline in cash flows
Offices will now receive much less revenue due to the lack of patients. Offices that gain $100,000 a month may receive only $3,000 in the upcoming period.
“Will my office be able to survive through the pandemic?” That is a common question we are encountering from our partnered dentists. Dental offices, like many other types of business, will go through a tough period.
The drop in cash flows causes several consequences. Firstly, dentists may not be able to have enough money to cover expenses such as rent, staffs’ salary, and equipment maintenance. For instance, a large dental office located in a good location could have a monthly rental fee of more than $5,000.
Secondly, the pandemic forces dental offices to lay off their staff, causing a disruption in personnel and operation. For instance, patients may call, but there is no staff at the reception to pick up the phone. Patients may get dissatisfied or seek treatment from other offices.
So will the dental industry survive through this pandemic?
Yes. We are confident that the industry can survive through this tough time. It will not be easy, but with appropriate and necessary strategies, we believe that dental practices can still thrive.