The effects of COVID-19 on Dentistry

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pugchief
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The effects of COVID-19 on Dentistry

Post by pugchief » Sat May 02, 2020 10:51 am

jhogue wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 9:35 am


Pugchief,

Just got a surprise notice that my dentist has decided to retire. He gave no specific reason, but coming amid the pandemic, it naturally reminded me of your musings about giving up your own possible retirement.

Please enlighten us more about your current situation. I wonder whether dental practices, with their expensive human capital, exposure to the virus, and high investment in physical infrastrucuture are at particular risk of going under.
We have been closed since March 14. There is no revenue being generated, but I continue to pay my staff. The utility companies, liability insurance companies and the county tax board and/or landlord still want their full payments. Patients fall into 2 categories: WTF do you mean I can't get my teeth cleaned? It's been 6.5 months! Or, ya, I'm in horrible pain, but I can wait until September.

We are at high risk bc most everything we do creates an aerosol which could* spread the virus. There are ways to reduce the risk: H2O2 pre-rinse, rubber dam during drilling, and external suction https://youtu.be/Vd0vTerJyC8 . We will also likely need to wear more PPE, which of course the insurance companies will not want to pay for so it will just increase my overhead into an already reduced revenue stream. N95 masks may become the new standard, or not. Face shields will certainly be required (no change for me, I have been using one for 20 years). Etc, etc.

I have been thru many major changes. When I started in the mid 80s, we did not wear gloves and sterilization was way less complicated. Then came AIDS and everything was more time consuming and more expensive. Then came PPOs and HMOs which reduced revenue and increased paperwork. Then more and more government regulations, compliance, restrictions, etc, which all reduced efficiency and increased overhead. The move away from amalgam ('silver') fillings to tooth colored, which was more time consuming and more technique sensitive but less profitable. And now COVID. You have to adapt to changes or get left behind, but at some point you just say f*ck it, it's not worth it anymore. I don't need the income and I have my son to take over the practice, so I'm not sure if or when I will ever return. Sad.


*Like everything COVID, they don't actually know.
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Re: The effects of COVID-19 on Dentistry

Post by t-bear52 » Sat May 02, 2020 4:33 pm

I think I’m in the f*ck it camp. I too practice in Illinois. If governor extends into June, I’m done.
Insurance is paying less and less while overheads skyrocket. Dentistry is no longer fun nor profitable. Taking my PP and going home! :)
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Re: The effects of COVID-19 on Dentistry

Post by stuper1 » Sat May 02, 2020 5:07 pm

Pugchief,

Good on you for continuing to pay your staff. That's very commendable.

Just out of curiosity, because I don't really know much about this stuff, wouldn't they make more money if you laid them off so they could get the expanded unemployment benefits? Or is it because those benefits only last a certain amount of time, and you want to preserve their ability to get those benefits for that full time period if you decide to close your shop and retire?

Not any of my business of course. Just curious.
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pugchief
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Re: The effects of COVID-19 on Dentistry

Post by pugchief » Sat May 02, 2020 5:38 pm

stuper1 wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 5:07 pm
Pugchief,

Good on you for continuing to pay your staff. That's very commendable.

Just out of curiosity, because I don't really know much about this stuff, wouldn't they make more money if you laid them off so they could get the expanded unemployment benefits? Or is it because those benefits only last a certain amount of time, and you want to preserve their ability to get those benefits for that full time period if you decide to close your shop and retire?

Not any of my business of course. Just curious.
My original plan was to use PPP money to help with the cost of keeping to pay them, but my bank missed the first round and I didn't get funded until last week. The money has to be used over the 8 weeks after you receive the loan, so the last 6 weeks was out of my benevolence. I discussed furloughing them and my receptionist insisted that she would be making way less on unemployment (I'm pretty sure she was mistaken) and would have to get a part-time job to make ends meet. Doing what, I asked? And who is hiring? She, in particular, has been with me for almost 25 years and is very loyal, so I felt she deserved to be kept on the payroll.

There is no risk of me closing shop; my son will take over the patient treatment while I continue to run the business end for another ~decade, so their jobs are secure long term. If I 'say f*ck it', it is only to myself treating patients, not to folding the practice.
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I Shrugged
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Re: The effects of COVID-19 on Dentistry

Post by I Shrugged » Sun May 03, 2020 9:53 pm

There’s a reason it’s called f*ck you money!

Anyway Chief, I hope it turns around soon.
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Re: The effects of COVID-19 on Dentistry

Post by jhogue » Mon May 04, 2020 8:02 am

pugchief,

Devastating. This is how small business get destroyed in contemporary America.
“Groucho Marx wrote:
A stock trader asked him, "Groucho, where do you put all your money?" Groucho was said to have replied, "In Treasury bonds", and the trader said, "You can't make much money on those." Groucho said, "You can if you have enough of them!"
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Re: The effects of COVID-19 on Dentistry

Post by dualstow » Mon May 04, 2020 8:44 am

pugchief wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 10:51 am
... There is no revenue being generated, but I continue to pay my staff. The utility companies, liability insurance companies and the county tax board and/or landlord still want their full payments. P
...
We are at high risk bc most everything we do creates an aerosol which could* spread the virus.
...
We will also likely need to wear more PPE, which of course the insurance companies will not want to pay for so it will just increase my overhead into an already reduced revenue stream.
...
Then came PPOs and HMOs which reduced revenue and increased paperwork. Then more and more government regulations, compliance, restrictions, etc, which all reduced efficiency and increased overhead.
...
I don't need the income and I have my son to take over the practice, so I'm not sure if or when I will ever return. Sad.
Sad indeed. Thank you for laying out the details, Pugchief.
RIP Charlie Daniels
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Re: The effects of COVID-19 on Dentistry

Post by jhogue » Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:01 am

Pugchief,

I will be going for my first post-COVID-19 dental cleaning this afternoon. Any last minute recommendations?

I will provide an update on any and all observed changes. It should be interesting, especially given all the recent-- and sometimes contradictory-- discussions we have had on this forum about wearing masks, etc.
“Groucho Marx wrote:
A stock trader asked him, "Groucho, where do you put all your money?" Groucho was said to have replied, "In Treasury bonds", and the trader said, "You can't make much money on those." Groucho said, "You can if you have enough of them!"
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Re: The effects of COVID-19 on Dentistry

Post by vnatale » Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:37 am

jhogue wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:01 am
Pugchief,

I will be going for my first post-COVID-19 dental cleaning this afternoon. Any last minute recommendations?

I will provide an update on any and all observed changes. It should be interesting, especially given all the recent-- and sometimes contradictory-- discussions we have had on this forum about wearing masks, etc.
This is what I received from my dentist's office yesterday.

Vinny

Dear Vincent,

We're happy to announce that Dr. Kellogg, DDS has reopened and we are currently scheduling appointments, at limited capacity. We are taking every precaution recommended, and will be adhering to strict social distancing and COVID protocols.
We would like to thank you for your support and patience during this difficult time.

Please note that as a result of COVID-19, we have updated some of our daily procedures. We have always meticulously followed strict infection control protocols, but you may notice a few changes related to COVID-19. Don't worry, you will still receive the same great service from our dedicated team. However, to ensure the safety of all our patients we have implemented the following changes:

-Please call our office at 413-538-7546 when you arrive for your appointment. We are eliminating our "waiting room" during this time. Once you call, we will advise you when your private treatment room is ready.

-Your temperature will be taken prior to treatment. You will also be asked a few questions prior to the start of any treatment. We are doing this for your safety, the safety of other patients, and the safety of our staff.

-Please do not bring anyone to accompany you during treatment, unless it is medically necessary. We are limiting the amount of traffic in and out of the office.

-We are not accepting walk-in appointments or walk-in scheduling at this time. Please call the office at 413-538-7546 to schedule. We are only allowing patients with appointments into the office at this time.

Again, thank you so much for your support. We're happy to continue serving you, and can't wait to see your smile!

Sincerely,

Your friends at Dr. Kellogg's Office
"I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats."
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Re: The effects of COVID-19 on Dentistry

Post by pugchief » Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:26 am

jhogue wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:01 am
Pugchief,

I will be going for my first post-COVID-19 dental cleaning this afternoon. Any last minute recommendations?

I will provide an update on any and all observed changes. It should be interesting, especially given all the recent-- and sometimes contradictory-- discussions we have had on this forum about wearing masks, etc.
If they are taking recommended precautions, it should be safe.
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Re: The effects of COVID-19 on Dentistry

Post by Maddy » Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:29 pm

I think I would have been tempted to respond, "Dr. Kellogg, how were your grades in dental school?"
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Re: The effects of COVID-19 on Dentistry

Post by whatchamacallit » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:37 pm

I went in for cleaning this week.

I only had contact with heavily garbed hygienist. The dentist didn't even check on me.

I never really paid too much attention at the dentist so it really didn't feel any different for me once in the chair. I always just close my eyes from the light shining and try to relax as much as I can.


On a side note, I am sure I used to hate going to the dentist as a kid. At some point it started to feel more like a break from work. Anyone else get to that point or does that mean I need new career?
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