Due to COVID-19, dentists are worried. They are scrambling right now. Concerns that occupy their minds
- Will I contract the virus? What about my staff members?
- When should I open my practice?
- Should I open my practice?
Another aspect that will surely be a cause for concern is how the cost of performing dentistry will increase dramatically. Because of the pandemic, regulatory agencies are now formulating new regulations to be placed on dentists, dental offices, dental assistants, dental hygienists and administrative team members all in an effort to “be safe.”
According to this article and OSHA PDF that I read – the masks used, the gowns worn and eye protection standards used by dental practitioners have to be upgraded. This greatly impacts dental businesses as overhead expenses will increase. When overhead expenses increase, then the most natural effect of this would be an increase on professional and service fees.
Let’s use this as an example: Pre-quarantine, the industry standard surgical masks would cost around $11 for a pack of 50 masks, or $0.22 per mask. If an N95 mask is to be the new standard, then that costs around $2 per mask. That is a 10 fold increase in cost. Now imagine how that would add up if a mask has to be changed per patient, per team member, per room. Dentistry will be costly for all.
On top of that, there is also a suggestion for all dental operation rooms (which is where most treatments are performed) should upgrade their air systems to prevent recirculation of aerosols naturally created in dentistry because the field of dentistry is considered “high risk”.
“Since dentistry is in the very-high-risk category, the section ‘Implement Workplace Controls, Engineering Controls’ recommends that dental practices install negative-pressure rooms or airborne infection isolation rooms for operatories in which procedures involving aerosol will be performed.”
However, there is good news for those who have already been seeing dentists who take the extra precautions to keep safe even before COVID-19 was a thing. Most biological or holistic dental offices are fully aware of the dangers of toxins in dentistry and many of these places already have safeguards in place.
Our office, for example, has gone to great lengths to prevent the exhaust that comes out of the oral cavity from entering the office environment. We have a total of 3 air cleaners, 1 mercury ionizer, and 2 clean-air ozone machines. This is matched with techniques and safety protocols that are in place as a regular part of our routine. I hope that this enlightens people of the investments made by biological dental practices and why labeling this approach to dentistry as “expensive” is unfair.
If you are a patient of ours, here is some more good news – our office is not planning to increase our fees due to this pandemic. As stated, we have already made the investment necessary.
To the rest of you readers, keep in mind that the cost of treating a COVID-19 patient at a hospital is close to $20,000! That is expensive! Don’t risk going to a dentist without the necessary safeguards in place just to save a few bucks on your dental work.