What to expect in the dental industry coming out of a pandemic

Now that we’re into spring and starting to see light at the end of the tunnel that is the COVID-19 pandemic, we thought we’d take a look at where and how the industry has shifted and what life looks like from the perspectives of hands-on experts. We invited two of our DENTALEZ Dentists to the conversation, Dr. Amy Ridall, DDS, MS, PhD and Dr Peter Certo, DMD.*

We started with the elephant in the room, asking how they thought COVID-19 has impacted the dental industry now that we are over a year into it. Their answers reflected both the positive and negative impacts that all change can have, both recalling the similar impact of the AIDS crisis. Then we moved on to other big changes in the dental landscape, including the forward momentum of technology evolutions in practice.

For today, we’re sharing the first part of the conversation, focused on COVID-19, but tune in next week to hear more!

Q. How do you think COVID-19 is affecting the dental industry in 2021?

Certo: Just like the AIDS epidemic, it has forced us to be more cognizant of transmission through the aerosols we create in our practices.

Ridall: It really woke up the industry. As with HIV, it brought to light any place we were lax, and forced us to better protect ourselves and our patients. It also required that we slow down, rather than always pushing for maximum productivity. That gave us more time and space for each patient.

Ridall: From a continuing education perspective, online suddenly became a much bigger option - often the only option. And I discovered there were advantages to that; I could listen to talks I didn’t have to travel for, and might not have made it to, otherwise. I could watch a recording of the talk at my convenience, or go back to something I missed or wanted to hear again. So I think that option has great benefits; as practitioners we can keep up better in the field. It loses the in-person advantages of networking, and viewing technology, but I’ve come to see it as a really nice option.

Q. What do you think the biggest challenges will be for dental professionals going forward?

Certo: Promoting a safe environment for our patients to feel comfortable and safe from airborne diseases. So we’ll see a trend towards permanently integrating more PPE, additional air purifiers and aerosol mitigation devices, like DENTALEZ’S extraoral HVE. With the added anxieties created by the pandemic we must do whatever it takes to make patients feel safe or practices will not survive.

Ridall: For young professionals, it may significantly affect where they get their first job or whether they get to open their own practice. Individuals will wait longer before venturing into private practice, and we’ll see more DSO’s. At any age or stage, I think this will continue the push towards more group practices; sharing the practice, the real estate space and equipment makes sense.

Thank you to our participants, and come back next week to hear more about how technology folds into the evolution out of the pandemic, and what other innovations our dentists are most intrigued by for 2021 and beyond!

*Dr. Amy Ridall, DDS, MS, PhD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry and Prosthodontics at the University of Texas, and Coordinator of Implant Programs. She earned a DDS and a master's degree in oral biology from SUNY at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, as well as a PhD in biomedical science from the MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston. She also completed a certificate program in prosthodontics from UTHealth School of Dentistry at Houston.

Dr. Peter Certo, DMD is a Dentistry Practitioner in Upper Chichester, PA and has over 29 years of experience in the medical field. He graduated from Temple University School of Medicine medical school in 1992.