Purtzki, Johansen + Associates


Will my practice ever go back to normal?

Will my revenues bounce back to the pre-Covid- 19 level? And if so, when is this likely to happen?

To find an answer to these questions which are on every dentist’s mind, we could not find any Canadian publication that was helpful. However, we came across an in depth study by the American Dental Association which provided clues about the future of dentistry after the pandemic.

The ADA Health Policy Institute prepared a well- researched analysis to forecast the likely recovery of dental practice incomes. Dental expenditures by patients track closely with the GDP and personal consumption. It means that when the whole economy recovers from the pandemic, so will the dental economy.

Here is the most likely scenario from the four scenarios the study identified.

Scenario 1: (May 2021 economic recovery, dental spending 80% recovered): The economy will recover to pre-Covid-19 level by May 2021 with dental spending recovering to 80% of projected levels. May 2021 was chosen because research by Wall Street shows that the economic recovery will most likely be in the second quarter of 2021. Normally, if the economy recovers 100%, one can expect that dental spending would also recover 100%. This has been true in pretty well all situations except for the Great Recession in 2008/2009. The path of recovery for the dental economy post Great Recession took until 2015 and only to a level which was 80% of the projected dental spending. The authors of the study feel that this scenario is the most likely: a 66.5% reduction in projected dental spending in 2020 and a 32.3% reduction in 2021.

Here is the table with all the four scenarios

The extent and the pace of the dental economic recovery will depend on several factors, such as the lifting of restrictions on elective procedures, and the availability of personal protective equipment for dentists. Dental team members may also be reluctant to resume normal work schedules if there are concerns over workplace safety and risk.

The rebound of the dental economy will also depend on whether or not patients are prepared to come to the clinic. Patients will form their own judgement about the risk of the virus. And this fear generated by the coronavirus is not likely to go away quickly. We are not aware of any research currently that examines how the public feels about the safety of dental offices.

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