2020 has brought us some truly devastating events including the wildfires all over Australia, the explosion in Beirut, and among other things, the global outbreak of a virus called COVID-19. Naturally, the governments all over the world have imposed strict regulations and among them is one that dental offices cannot operate until the situation gets better or that they can work, but only in emergency cases.
However, since the situation is slowly, but surely getting better, a lot of regions are expecting to reopen a lot of businesses including dental offices. And, if you are a dentist, you are probably wondering – what are some things that I’ll need to change about my practice? Luckily, this article can help. Let’s take a closer look at the things you should do:
1. First Things First – Ensure That You Can Open it
The very first thing that you must do is to ensure whether or not you can actually open your practice. How can you do that? Well, there is the more difficult way of your visiting your local town hall and asking them directly, and there is an easier way that allows you to browse an interactive map.
The map will detail all the current regulations, however, you should keep in mind that the timeline will probably be different for every state, which means that it could be different for all states. Hence, your first step is to ensure that you are following the regulations and that you can reopen your practice.
2. Always Put Safety First
Just because it might be possible for you to open your office, it does not mean that it is completely safe to do so. This means that you must consider the infection rates in the area where you are living, the demographics of the patients, whether or not your staff is healthy, and so on. You should not reopen until you are sure that you can protect yourself, your staff, and patients.
3. Supplies, Supplies, Supplies
As you probably know, there are shortages of face masks, gloves, and other protective clothes and equipment around the globe, and you must ensure that you have all of those things. If it is possible for you to restock frequently and to get everything that you need when you need it, you can consider reopening, otherwise, it will be a waste of money to work for a few weeks and then close again because you are short on protective equipment.
4. Do You Have Your Staff?
Some people on your staff might be ill or they might be scared of coming back to work. This is one of the reasons why you might want to consider hiring a dental temp. There are various companies such as www.openemp.ca that can help you with temp recruiting, hence, you’ll be able to easily find someone that will help you.
5. Prepare Your Office
Once you are done with all the aforementioned things such as checking if you can reopen and whether or not you’ll need to find a temp hygienist, you can start preparing your practice. But, what does this mean for you? Well, for starters, you’ll have to place a sign on your door that will notify patients that they should reschedule if they had any COVID-19 symptoms.
Additionally, you must provide several hand sanitizing desks in the waiting room and you should ensure that you remove all magazines, remotes, bottled water, coffee machines, and other items that people usually touch while waiting for their turn. But, this is not the end. You must prepare your bathroom as well.
The bathroom needs to be stocked up on paper towels and sanitizing soap, and you’ll need to ensure that it is cleaned a few times every day. Air purifiers are also a useful tool, as well as encouraging your staff and patients to wear gloves and masks while waiting for their turn.
6. Scheduling Hygiene Appointments First
It might be wise to schedule hygiene appointments when you first reopen. Some people might tell you that you should work more hours or that you should start working during the weekends, however, there is no need for doing that. This will allow you to talk with your patients about future treatment plans and you’ll also reassure them that everything will be okay, even if the pandemic continues.
7. Sterilizing Everything is a Must!
Before you reopen – as well as when you open your business – you must ensure that you sterilize everything. From your instruments to the chairs in the waiting room, you’ll need to keep everything spotless. Additionally, when you are back in business, it is wise to sterilize everything after you are done with one patient since this will ensure that everything remains clean.
8. Think About Creating Phone Scripts
When you are talking with your patients over the phone, you’ll surely want to remind them about the health screening practices that you have implemented. Additionally, you’ll want to talk with your clients about whether or not they had some symptoms, inform them that they should come alone – except if they are bringing their children for an appointment – and ask them to bring their own water and pens. All of this is crucial when reopening, especially since it will lower the possibilities of you or your staff getting infected.
9. Implement New Health Screening Strategies
Besides all the other things on this list, you might also want to consider implementing some health screening strategies for your patients. Hence, ensure that the people visiting your office aren’t coughing, that they do not have difficulties breathing, that they do not have symptoms similar to the flu, and also, check their temperatures before they enter the waiting room.
As you can see, there is a wide range of things that you’ll need to do before you actually reopen your dentist’s office. However, by doing so, you’ll ensure that you are following all the regulations and that you’ll be able to safely and slowly start accepting your clients again.
Hence, now that you are aware of all the things you’ll need to do, you should really not waste any more of your time. Instead, you should think about going to the beginning of the aforementioned list and start with the first tip – which is checking if you can reopen your practice.