November 10, 2020
by Mark H.E. Lin, BSc, DDS, MSc(Prostho), FRCD(C); Peter Barry, CMC., RRDH.
In March 2020, as Corona virus cases grew rapidly, it was advised that routine, non-essential oral health care be delayed until there had been sufficient reduction in COVID-19 transmission rates. What followed was an almost complete global shut down of most sectors of our society. While these measures have been central to mitigating the spread of the virus, we have learned that putting needed health care on hold also creates entirely new struggles and strain on public health and quality of life.
The swift and massive shock of the pandemic and subsequent shutdown measures to contain it has touched every member of our society in some way. Some have caught COVID-19 and survived the ordeal. Many families have lost loved ones. There has been an abrupt restriction on global travel, causing limited consumer access to essential goods and services. People have become much more aware of the carbon footprint and affect that pre-pandemic routine was having on our environment. The most widespread impact has undoubtably come from the effect of the shutdown on our global economy and financial livelihoods. It is becoming clear that no society can safeguard public health for long at the cost of its economic health. They are inextricably woven.
A look at every business sector and facet of life reveals that the days of “business as usual” are now gone. All of us have had to embrace new guidelines in clinical practice – PPE, pre-screening measures, air quality technology, fallow time scheduling considerations and physical distancing barriers to name a few. Embracing these changes alone won’t position our profession for success in the future because we are now living in a much more health conscious world that is quite fearful of contracting COVID. We must adapt our focus and central messaging to meet the needs of this changing world. In light of this, we have an opportunity to make our patients more aware of the bi-directional relationship between a healthy mouth and a healthy body. Much research has shown that a preferred level of oral health can improve a person’s resistance to disease, healing and recovery. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to communicate broader messages that inspire people to engage in robust healthcare relationships with their dental practice.
No matter how disruptive things have been, history has shown us time and again that when significant events occur that impact our world on a broad scale, society has always persevered and recovered. In this time of change, perhaps we should take a moment to count our blessings by reflecting on what we have learned. It is undeniable that each of us now has a much greater appreciation for the value of free time, money and social connections, as well as a higher appreciation for the role of healthcare.
The sacrifices our society has made and how we collectively bounce back as a profession and community will be remembered, studied and praised by future generations for years to come. In our pursuit of clinical excellence and optimal patient care, we have an opportunity to count our daily blessings by reminding ourselves as a profession, that service to others is the rent we pay for our room on this earth.
About the Authors
Dr. Mark Lin, graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy for his dental program. He then completed a one-year General Practice Residency program at the Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. He practiced general dentistry for 13 years and then returned to complete his post-graduate training in the specialty of prosthodontics at the University of Toronto. He maintains a full-time specialty practice as a prosthodontist at Dr. Mark Lin Prosthodontic Centre.
Peter Barry is a sought-after speaker/coach/trainer whose message has inspired dental professionals and industry companies across North America. For 20 years, he has empowered dentists with skills needed to achieve extraordinary growth, higher income, and exceptional quality of life through clinical excellence and leadership development. He is the founder of “Practice Mastery” a practice development company that serves the growth & development needs of your practice. Find him on instagram @peterbarrycoach or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org / www.practicemastery.com