Oral Health Group

2020: A Reflection of a Year in Dentistry

April 12, 2021
by Les Rykiss, DMD, Dip ABAD, FASDA, FIADFE

Upon reviewing my Editorial from the April 2020 issue, I had discussed what motivated any of us to continue to practice dentistry on a day-in, day-out basis. Little did I know what was in store for us all by the time the editorial came out in print. As I sit here at my computer pondering my editorial, I am trying to piece together the events of the last year. Events that have no doubt changed the way our practices run, and how we treat patients from here forward.

The Pacific Dental Conference in 2020 was attended by many of you, as usual. There was the topic of COVID-19, discussed all over the tradeshow floor, but I dare say that no one would have bet that that event would be the last in-person convention/tradeshow anywhere in North America, let alone the world. Many people still hugged their friends/colleagues, and some had started to give each a friendly fist bump or touch elbows. In my crowded lecture hall, very few people were even wearing masks sitting right next to each other. Little did we know that in just over a week after the convention ended, the newswires would start to talk about the Dental COVID convention in Vancouver where several people were infected with this deadly Virus. I could not even imagine that someone in the Winnipeg dental community would be Manitoba’s first death, and linked to the convention. Then, something occurred to all of us that I for one would never have ever foreseen: LOCKDOWN. Two-and-a half-months of nothing. Our practices were closed. Emergencies were dealt with over the phone and with pharmaceuticals until our offices were capable of seeing the patient for treatment.


Dealing with COVID-19 has definitely been challenging for everyone, no matter what you do or where you live. I would dare say that seniors have been most affected, not only by the sheer number of deaths over the age of 70, but also because of the loneliness of not being able to see family and friends for weeks and months on end. For dentistry, COVID-19 protocols have had to become part of our regular office routines on a daily, patient by patient basis. Impressively, in Manitoba, a large majority of dentists were part of a chat group to share information about COVID with our colleagues for the greater good. Information such as: Where can we find PPE? What types of PPE do we need? Establishing COVID protocols for our office and team members. Dealing with the fact that the government bodies decided timelines for dentists without consulting the Dental Associations. Chaos! This sharing of information reminded me that even though we may be isolated working in our own practices, we all are interested in the best for Dentistry and our patients.

A year later, we as a profession have survived the challenges. We have all endured the addition of all the equipment into our offices and the wearing of surgical gowns and caps, N95 masks, and face shields. Is this to become the new normal? For sure, it is for the foreseeable future. We as a profession have made a routine visit to the dental office one of the safest places on earth to be during the Pandemic. Congratulations to us all! My hope is that we will never have to endure anything like this in our careers ever again. Stay safe and be well.

About the Author

Dr Les Rykiss Graduated in 1990 with his DMD from the University of Manitoba . Since then he has been in private practice in Winnipeg, MB. He has Diplomate status with the American Board of Aesthetic Dentistry (ABAD). He has Fellowship Degrees in the International Academy for Dento-facial Esthetics(FIADFE), the American Society for Dental Aesthetics (FASDA), and an Associate Fellowship in Laser Dentistry from the WCLI. He received his Cosmetic Dentistry training and is a graduate and Mentor at the Nash Institute for Dental Learning. Also he has also taught restorative and pediatric at the University of Manitoba. He is a member of the Manitoba Dental Association, Canadian Dental Association, Winnipeg Dental Society, the Canadian Academy for Esthetic Dentistry (CAED), The American Society for Dental Aesthetics (ASDA), and past president of the Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity. He is the current Cosmetic/Esthetic Editor for Oral Health Dental Journal and has written articles and has lectured in North America on cosmetic dentistry, digital dentistry, and hard and soft tissue laser use.

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