If there’s one takeaway from 2020, it’s that nothing is business as usual. The outbreak of COVID-19 has upended the way thousands of companies operate in an unprecedented way. While certain businesses like streaming services and teleconferencing platforms are thriving, others have had to make drastic changes just to survive.
All companies, from small businesses to multi-million dollar corporations, need to operate within new safety guidelines. But for some companies, like dental practices, whose very nature of business is antithetical to wearing a mask, staying safe is slightly more challenging. Dr. Glenn Vo, founder of Denton Smiles Dentistry in Texas, talks through the importance of adapting during these times.
“What the pandemic has shown us is that you can’t conduct business in the same way,” he says. “Look at how restaurants have pivoted. They introduced curbside takeout. The ones that set up online payment have been able to flourish. But the restaurants that require you to call in did not, because what happens when too many people call at once? They get a busy signal. So customers get frustrated and go somewhere else.”
It’s all about identifying and catering to the needs of your customers. According to Dr. Vo, pivoting for dental practices is all about making patients feel safe. Many people are skipping routine dental checks due to safety concerns, but it’s more important now than ever to maintain your dental health, after a study called “The Mouth-Covid Connection” found a link between gum disease and COVID deaths.
“If you don’t adapt, you’re not going to be seen,” says Dr. Vo. He breaks down the changes to dental procedures to reassure patients that are apprehensive about visiting the dentist during the COVID pandemic.
“Normally when you go to a medical office, you sit in the waiting room. But during COVID we can’t have numerous people in one room,” he explains. “So in my office, we have a virtual waiting room. You sit in your car, you check-in online, and you enter a queue.”
Patients will receive a text message when it’s time to go inside and will be escorted directly to the treatment room by an employee. All payment can be done online, whether it be via credit card, PayPal, Zelle or Venmo. “You see the dentist. We do the treatment. And then you leave right away. I email you a breakdown of everything we did. And I email you the receipt or invoice,” explains Dr. Vo. His new mode of operation drastically cuts down the amount of time and contact each person makes with others and their surroundings. “We want you to have touched as the least amount of things as possible so that you’re safe and my staff is safe, too,” says Dr. Vo.
Virtual consultations are another change introduced by Dr. Vo’s office. “We try to identify exactly what you need beforehand so that when you come in, whether it’s an X-ray or treatment, you’ve already paid for it and can leave immediately after,” he says. “You go in and you go out.”
So if you’re thinking about skipping that annual dental check, don’t. Simply find a dental office that has implemented procedures that make you feel safe and comfortable.