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American Dental Association: Big changes in the dental industry that could impact you

Higher costs, job loss, and fewer family practices: the ADA report says those are all potential consequences from the coronavirus pandemic

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Right now, many dental offices have to schedule patients months away for appointments like routine teeth cleaning, but according to the American Dental Association, dentists say their businesses are struggling due to the pandemic.

According to the American Dental Association, 99% of dental offices are open again but about 20% fewer patients are going through the doors.

Association officials said it’s because people are worried about catching coronavirus.

“In 2020, there are enough fears to go around,” said Dr. Barclay Weisberg.

However, those fears mean overall spending on dental care could drop by 38% this year, according to the ADA findings.

Weisberg wants to reassure patients. He said, "There’s a lot of measures that different practices are taking to help really make sure that both the patient and the practice is safe.”

To make that happen, dentists report spending an extra $15 to $20 per patient for COVID-19 safety measures.

Still, the ADA's research shows that these changes could result in fewer family dental practices, more job cuts, and increased costs for your visit.

Weisberg said he talks with dentists around the country about the pandemic.

“Ultimately there is a lot of different iterations of the story and so certainly some of them are having a harder time adjusting,” said Weisberg.

Lina Douglas said she’s a patient and she knows the risks of going to the dentist today.

“I’m in good hands, but I’m still scared for my health,” said Douglas.

Yet, she understands the consequences of not going for routine exams too.

Douglas said, “We need the care.”

Weisberg said he’s not planning on changing their costs for customers, but they are charging insurance companies about $10 for additional P.P.E.

The most important thing is he wants patients to not let their oral health slide.

“Making sure to deal with things before they become emergent is really so critical,” said Weisberg.

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