On Thursday, December 2, 2021, the Dr. Nasry Michelen Allied Health Lecture series presented a discussion on “COVID and Its Impact on Dentistry” with Donald A. Tucker, DDS. Moderated by Julie Bencosme, Professor of Dental Hygiene at Hostos Community College, the discussion rounded out the series, a collaborative effort between the Nasry Michelen Foundation and the College, for the Fall 2021 semester.
In her opening remarks, Hostos President Daisy Cocco De Filippis reflected on the pandemic’s “staggering effect” on the medical and dental industries and how providers and instructors alike have had to continuously pivot and readjust how they provide care. She welcomed Dr. Tucker and his invaluable first-hand insight into how the dental industry — and his practice in particular — has adjusted to this new reality and what he’s learned along the way.
Dr. Tucker is a Buffalo, New York-based dentist and New York Dental Foundation trustee. Drawing from his professional experiences and research, his lecture focused on where the field of dentistry was prior to the pandemic, where it is now, and where it is going. He also spoke of what changes his practice has implemented to reduce viral exposure and how his team has pivoted to address the ongoing changes.
Dr. Tucker shared his practice initially closed for three months at the top of the pandemic, and since reopening has implemented enhanced safety measures including the use of and constant changing of personal protective equipment and enhanced air filtration and air quality monitoring. They have also asked patients to rinse with medicated mouthwash and instituted improved check-in procedures to enable patients to wait for their appointments from their vehicles.
“The reality of COVID in dentistry is it's here,” he said. “It's not going away super-fast. We're going to probably have it become endemic instead of a pandemic; there will be a low level of it. And we need to maintain our, the ability to deal with it.”
Dr. Tucker went on to emphasize the importance of teamwork, cross-training staff, and maintaining safety protocols in supporting community health and combatting staff shortages going forward.
For more information on “COVID and Its Impact on Dentistry,” watch Dr. Tucker’s lecture here.