On August 11th, the World Health Organization issued a recomendation that has created a lot of fallout for dental practices.
"[Dentists'] procedures involve face-to-face communication and frequent exposure to saliva, blood, and other body fluids and handling sharp instruments,” the new guidance says. “Consequently, they are at high risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 or passing the infection to patients.”
Needless to say, the media took this and ran with it. Many of us were alarmed and dismayed by their recommendation.
Well, you all probably know what happened, right? Dentists and their teams alike took the social media in frustration because there is so much flip flopping goining on.
We're told to shut down.
We're told we can open back up.
Now we're told to avoid regular dental checkups.
The WHO Chief Dental Officer later stated:
"Unfortunately, a number of media headlines, intentionally or not, when they're referring to the
World Health Organization's guidance, did not mention that the recommendation to delay routine oral health care is only suggested in an intense, uncontrolled community transmission scenario."
So, I posted last week, last Friday and said, Hey, if anyone is struggling with patient concerns, we created some scripting that can help.
And literally the very next morning I was inundated with over 600 requests for the scripting. So we created the scripting to help them overcome any patients that were concerned.
Down below we also share some of our other recomendations to minimize the fallout.
Change Your Voicemail
It's important if you haven't already, to update your message to say something like this:
If you are needing to cancel or change an appointment, you will need to call back during business hours to speak to us directly. We do not accept cancelations over voicemail.
So that's first things first change you need to make. Establish your, your standards and your boundaries and make sure on your voicemail, says we do not accept changes or cancellations to your appointments via voicemail.
How To Respond To Patients
The second item is how to respond when patients call.
What we need to do is validate their concern.
So here's how we start.
We understand your concern. Dentistry follows the guidance of the CDC, the ADA and local health officials.
We've been extra cautious and have gone above and beyond those recommendations to date. There have been no documented cases of COVID transmitted dental practices, but WHO is most likely gearing this recommendation towards parts of the world that may not be practicing to our standard of infection control until our authorities develop a different mandate. We are continuing to take excellent care of our patients.
The Gateway To Health
So for many of us, we understand that there is a link between periodontal health and total systemic health. We know when there's inflammation in the mouth, there's inflammation in the body.
We've long said. That the health of the mouth is a window to the health of the rest of the body.
So for those of periodontal concerns, something like this would probably be helpful in helping them understand the need to keep their appointments.
Emerging research has suggested there's a connection between gum disease and COVID-19 studies are showing that hospitalized patients with underlying gum disease can be at a higher risk per respiratory failure.
Little did we know that the storm was literally a lot sooner than we expected with this nonessential care mandate or recommendation from the World Health Organization?
So if you've had your schedule falling apart, hopefully these strategies will, will be useful for you.
We share a couple more recomendations on our training as well.