Dentistry’s Post-Shutdown Recovery Continues

Dentistry Today

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Dentistry’s recovery continues, with 58.1% of practices reporting that they are open with business as usual and 41.5% reporting that they are open but with lower patient volume, according to the April 12 edition of the ADA’s Health Policy Institute polling.

That’s an improvement over the previous poll on March 15, which found 50.8% open with business as usual and 48.5% open but with lower patient volume. In the February 15 poll, those numbers were 42.6% and 55.5%, respectively.

Total patient volumes also are improving, with 37.1% of practices reporting more than 95% of pre-pandemic numbers, and 33.9% reporting between 86% and 95%. In the previous March 15 poll, those numbers were 30.5% and 34.6%, respectively.

Collections are growing too, as 35.9% of practices reporting more than 95% of pre-pandemic collection numbers, and 32.6% reporting between 86% and 95%. In the March 15 poll, 29.4% of practices say more than 95% of pre-pandemic numbers, and 31.8% saw between 86% and 95%.

Payrolls have remained steady too. During the week of April 12, 95.9% of practices paid their staffs. In the March 15 poll, 96.0% paid their staffs. The February 15 poll showed 93.9% of practices paying their staffs, as did 94.2% in the January 18 poll.

And things are getting better for dentists who aren’t practice owners, as 84.6% of them were paid for the week of April 12. Only 83.0% were paid in the March 15 poll, 76.7% were paid in the February 15 poll, and 79.1% were paid in the January 18 edition.

Yet many practices have had to take extra measures to maintain their financial stability. For example:

  • Downsized the dental team: 6.1%
  • Reduced dental team hours: 11.3%
  • Reduces employee wages/benefits: 2.0%
  • Disenrolled from dental benefits plans: 6.0%
  • Changed dental materials supplier/lab: 15.5%
  • Raised fees: 21.8%
  • Borrowed money from a bank: 15.9%
  • Sold the practice: 1.3%
  • Joined a DSO or large group practice: 0.7%
  • Retired: 0.7%

Still, optimism remains high, with 45.9% saying they are very confident in the recovery of their dental practice, and 39.1% saying they are somewhat confident. Overall, 38.8% are very confident in dentistry’s recovery overall, and 45.2% are somewhat confident.

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