Where Are We Now
Welcome to our fall issue. Usually this is a time of returning to classes and school activities, and beginning to prepare for the holiday season. Instead, many of us are still navigating rules about distancing and infection control, mastering new technologies, and figuring out alternative (often virtual) ways to conduct our lives and our work. As Inside Dental Hygiene goes to press, many aspects of our world are still unsettled and unpredictable.
As a response to COVID-19, dental practices throughout the United States had to close expeditiously, and then open again cautiously. As of mid-August, according to data from the ADA Health Policy Institute, the economic recovery of dental practices was proceeding steadily, with 98% of dental offices open and patient volume at 73% of previous levels. Now that dentistry has come through this first wave, our sister publication, Inside Dentistry, recently conducted a survey on how the shutdown affected dental practices and their teams, personally and professionally.
For example, 61% of respondents said they did not hold any virtual meetings with staff during the shutdown. When asked how new infection and PPE protocols are affecting workflow as they return to practice, 53% say somewhat, while 38% say significantly. The number of routine hygiene visits is a reliable indicator of practice health: 20% of respondents claim to be at 90% or more of their previous volume, although at the other end, 23% are at less than a quarter of their previous volume.
Finally, as dental teams continue to be closed off from conferences and in-person continuing education, they have turned to online continuing education-44% of respondents took more than 10 online courses during the shutdown, and the majority plan to continue their learning virtually.
One place to find diversified virtual education is at our online portal at idh.cdeworld.com, where we consistently post new learning opportunities for hygienists. These courses, webinars, and eBooks cover the latest in relevant science and procedures.
The publishers of Inside Dental Hygiene are thankful for your continuing support. Please feel free to reach out to us during this time, through our social media platforms or website, and let us know what you would like to see in this publication.