We asked five dental professionals how Covid-19 has affected their businesses and what they predict will happen once the pandemic is over. Germany has been praised for its handling of the pandemic. Despite this, dentists like Dr. Mischa Krebs had to rely on friends to sew protective caps for the staff. His clinic was also one of those that treated patients that were infected with the virus.
How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect your everyday work, Dr. Krebs?
During the lockdown people nearly stopped coming. We scaled down from five to two dentists and sent of lot of the assistants home for about six weeks.
Patients reacted very differently. Some refused treatments and others, who we would classify as being in a high-risk group, asked for implant treatments without any fear. Usually patients have to wait six weeks for an appointment, so some were happy to get earlier dates due to others postponing theirs.
We also helped develop a network of offices treating Covid-19-infected patients in our area. This took quite some time and discussions. Which practices could accept potentially infected patients? Which colleagues were willing to help? Which offices had sufficient dentists to go on working, if one of their dentists were infected?
Protective equipment was a key issue and neither dental chambers nor the government and trade organizations could provide this. We tried to organize KN 95 face masks and single use work coats from painters and decorators. We asked friends to sew caps out of old linens, which we then sterilized and used to protect our staff. We even went back to washable textile work coats, as these were available.
What is your current situation like? Have you begun treating patients again?
Patient treatments are nearly back to normal. But a lot of things have had to change, including hygienic and logistical issues, waiting areas, patient reception and protective equipment.
As quite a few patients postponed their appointments during lockdown, I would say that the practice is busier than usual during the summer holiday period.
What has been the most profound change to your daily business due to Covid-19?
We have to use extended protective equipment, including KN 95 face mask, magnification, cap, face shield and work coat at all times. Working is really hard when wearing all this for a full working day.
We also have less space in waiting areas and have to ask patients a lot of questions before treatment, making time-management and organization much more difficult. All materials must be disinfected and so on. Our operations are simply more expensive and will stay that way.
Do you think Covid-19 will have a lasting effect on implant dentistry? If so, how?
I think the fear of infections might rise and that the already very high hygienic standards in implant dentistry and dentistry in general might get even stricter in the future.
What are your general thoughts on the future for the implant dentistry?
Read more about how other dental professionals are affected by and experience the pandemic: