At 11 PM last night the California Dental Association (CDA), sent out a message urging California dental practices to “voluntarily suspend nonessential or non-urgent dental care for the next 14 days.”

This comes as Gov. Newsom declares a State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.

Please note, this is a recommendation by the CDA, but one that I am sure many will follow.

If your office plans to shut down for the suggested 14 days,

Here are 6 steps to close your office during a Pandemic.

#1 Have an End Date

Times are uncertain, making it understandable that you won’t want to include when you will resume business.  However, by picking an end date, it will force you and your staff to be prepared to start working again. It also helps you keep your patients on the schedule as you are rescheduling them rather than canceling their appointments.

Worst case, you need to extend your leave an extra week.  But if you don’t have an end date, it will be very hard to get you, your team and your patients back to the office.

For the sake of our templates, we have chosen the date of March 30 (14 days from tomorrow), as our end date.

#2 – Hit the Phones

Before you send out an email to your patients letting them know you are shutting down, CALL your patients that you have scheduled for the next two weeks to let them know.  Again, don’t just cancel their appointments. Get them RESCHEDULED! This will ensure that when you and your team return to work you will have patients ready for treatment.

#3 – Get the Word Out

Once you have all your patients for the next two weeks rescheduled, now is the time to get the word out.  A nicely written email to all your patients is great. But a text and social media post should also be included.

With all mediums, keep it short and sweet, note that you are closing for them (your patients) and explain how to reach out to you in the case of a dental emergency.

Here are some free templates to use as needed.

Letter Template -Edit as needed, add logo and then copy and paste into your email platform.

Text Template – Edit as needed then copy and paste into your text platform.

Social Media PNG – Unfortunately you can’t edit it, feel free to post as is, or I created this on Canva.

#4 Be There

Either have your phones forwarded to someone’s cell, or have someone come into the office to answer calls from patients.  That way if someone does call, you can still schedule them for treatment OR address their fears if they are having a dental emergency.

#5 Take Care of Your Team

Your staff will be concerned about their financial situation.  If you can, find ways to help them earn money while you are closed.  If you have the means, let them come in and do a deep cleaning of the office. Or Inventory.  Clean up AR. Even though you can’t schedule right away, recare calls might be effective since everyone will be bored at home.

And in the next coming weeks make sure you are looking into every financial assistance plan possible to help manage your business and cashflow.  The CDA stated, “Rest assured that CDA will advocate on behalf of all dentists in California for economic relief packages.”  

Stay up to date on these programs and share with your staff accordingly. 

#6 Stay Healthy

Make sure you follow all the recommendations being made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  That way once things settle down you and your team will be ready to get right back to work.

If you are planning to stay open, or if any of your employees get sick once it is time to return to work, make sure you get your temp requests in on DirectDental.

Hope this helps!  Stay healthy everyone.  Thanks for reading.