Over the last five weeks since dental offices resumed preventive care in accordance with enhanced health and safety features, there’s strong evidence that dental offices are on the road to recovery.
It’s quite a turnaround following a substantial reduction of practice functions that focused solely on emergencies in mid-March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The widespread closure of offices care and the shortfall of personal protective equipment led to the steepest decline in employment within the health care sectors in April. More than half a million people lost their jobs.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the dental industry gained a quarter-million jobs last month, which accounted for 10 percent of the net jobs added across the United States.
Did you know that nearly half of all dentists laid off their entire staff by the middle of April?
At that point, only about 13 percent of offices stayed open and remaining offices conducted business with razor-thin staffing support.
Today, it’s a whole different story. Nearly 90 percent of dental practices are open, with a large segment reporting business as usual.
Of the 10 percent that remain closed, most of them plan to reopen by the end of June.
It’s truly is an incredible comeback story! Part of the success comes from federal stimulus programs. Many dental practices signed up for the Paycheck Protection Program, increasing their chances of staying open. This assistance went to about 37 percent of dental practices and kept staff on payroll.
Hiring at dental offices is also in high gear. By mid-May, nearly 60 percent of offices had hired back their full staff; the number rose to almost 80 percent in the first week of June.
With the loosening of stay-at-home restrictions and the reopening of other businesses, consumers are also regaining their confidence and are prioritizing dental health.
A consumer poll showed that more than 80 percent of people have already gone to the dentist or plan on doing so in the next quarter.
While there’s a lot of reason to be hopeful, continued recovery is still uncertain and without a firm end date.
The dental industry is still 289,000 jobs short of pre-pandemic levels, illustrating how much work is left before a full recovery can be celebrated.