Dentistry Post Corona: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

January 18, 2021 Barry F. Polansky, DMD

The Great Pandemic of 2020 has created mass disruption in the lives and work for most people. In a current bestselling book, Post Corona, author Scott Galloway has an interesting perspective on the many various changes that we have seen and reveals his theory of what the “new normal” will look like. But don’t be shocked to discover it will just be more of the same.

The virus has been an accelerant.

As the premise of his book, Galloway uses a quote that is often attributed to former premier of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin: “Nothing can happen for decades, and then decades happen in weeks.” Of course, Vlad was speaking about the Russian Revolution, but we can apply that logic to what we have witnessed over the past 11 months.

In other words, social and business trends that were already in motion went into turbo mode. The virus has acted as an accelerant. It has affected every one of our lives and every market in the world. Take e-commerce as an example. We have been using for years, yet e-commerce has only grown at a rate of 1% every year. Just before the pandemic, e-commerce was 16% of the economy. Then, from March 2020 through April 2020, that number jumped to 27% in just 8 weeks…just like Vlad said.

Think about other instances like virtual meetings and the emergence of Zoom. I hope you bought their stock. Zoom was around before the virus…now look at it. Stay at home stocks have been on a tear. With gyms closing and people social distancing, Peloton, and Lululemon’s Mirror have really taken off.

What about dentistry?

Early on, dental practices were seeing the effect of fears of close contact and aerosol transmission. Then things eased up. Practices became busier. Now, with the rise in cases, the fears are returning.

Private dentists with reputations for genuinely caring about what is in the best interest of their patients, have earned patient trust already that helps immunize their patients from fear.

One thing we must respect is that we have no control over other people’s behavior. And we have no control over the pesky virus. The vaccine is coming but human behavior will prevail.

As a retired dentist, people continue to ask me one question: “Is it safe to get my teeth cleaned?” My answer, as a dentist, is always yes, but as a patient, they will be asking that question for a long time to come…vaccine or not. Dentists must see this through the eyes of their patients.

What should we expect post-Corona?

Galloway, in his book Post Corona, tells us that the existing trends will continue to accelerate:

  • The good ones (like hand washing and stay at home practices),
  • The unpopular ones (like masks and excessive PPE), and
  • Even the ugly ones (like misunderstandings in business and within families).

So, what do we do?

As a good Stoic, I would advise first to accept what we cannot change the circumstances. Just like a war…it’s unfortunate and not fair but a Stoic accepts the challenge and moves forward. It never pays to get frustrated or angry. Now is the time to build resilience and pay attention to leadership and communication skills.

Yes, the troops are coming, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. (I love clichés.) But basic human behavior will prevail.

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About Author

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Barry F. Polansky, DMD

Dr. Polansky has delivered comprehensive cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry, and implant dentistry for more than 35 years. He was born in the Bronx, New York in January 1948. The doctor graduated from Queens College in 1969 and received his DMD degree in 1973 from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Following graduation, Dr. Polansky spent two years in the US Army Dental Corps, stationed at Fort. Dix, New Jersey. In 1975, Dr. Polansky entered private practice in Medford Lakes. Three years later, he built his second practice in the town in which he now lives, Cherry Hill. Dr. Polansky wrote his first article for Dental Economics in 1995 – it was the cover article. Since that time Dr. Polansky has earned a reputation as one of dentistry's best authors and dental philosophers. He has written for many industry publications, including Dental Economics, Dentistry Today, Dental Practice and Finance, and Independent Dentistry (a UK publication).

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