Last year at this time I recall the optimism I felt at the start of 2020. A bustling holiday season was behind us, the US economy was buzzing, and the outlook for dental practices could not have been brighter. And then it happened. Who knew last January that in a few short months dental practices across the country would go from flourishing to being literally shut down, except for emergency care. The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating effect on the dental profession, one that still lingers as we embark on 2021.
Despite the destruction, dentistry is bouncing back as practices find ways to overcome the many challenges presented by the pandemic. Dental offices have implemented new and improved safety measures, stepped up infection control procedures, and some have even increased their use of teledentistry. Everyone's awareness of safety has been heightened. And although patient volume is still below pre-COVID-19 levels, dental practice activity continues to rebound as patients, while still leary of the virus, are realizing they cannot ignore their oral health for long without suffering consequences.
Of course, the challenges of dentistry are not limited to those of the pandemic. Dentists must continue to find ways to tackle difficult, complex cases-perhaps even more so today as patients may feel inclined to delay their dental visit. In this issue of Compendium, we feature an article on the interdisciplinary management of a complicated esthetic dilemma and the coordinated effort of a team of specialists utilized to achieve a successful outcome. The case described in this article is also the focus of a "Complex Case Discussion" CE webinar, part of a series in which Compendium-published clinicians explore the challenges and rewards of collaborative care. To register for this in-depth look at interdisciplinary care, visit compendiumlive.com/go/cced1949.
Our CE content this month includes an overview of the management of bleeding after oral surgery as well as a review of the health impacts of electronic cigarette usage. In addition, this month Compendium kicks off a new series for 2021 on dental artificial intelligence (AI) and how this advanced technology is impacting the future of dentistry.
As we move past the improbable year that was 2020, let's hope for better things in 2021. Know that Compendium will be there helping clinicians find answers, solve problems, and overcome the challenges ahead.
Louis F. Rose, DDS, MD