Dental practices face financial turmoil due to COVID-19 restrictions

Reporter: Lauren Sweeney
Credit: via WINK News.

Dr. David Rowe said he’s had to take around $285,000 from savings in order to float his dental practice.

An executive order from early March bans dentists from treating patients for anything outside of a dental emergency. Rowe said that brought the number of patients his practice sees daily drop from 50 to about six.

“This is a massive massive financial catastrophe,” said Rowe.

According to an American Dental Association Survey, 90 percent of Florida dentists who responded said they are seeing about only 10 percent of their patients.

In that same survey, 21 percent said that they would not be able to stay open if the restrictions continued through May and 47 percent said they’d have to close their doors if restrictions continued through June.

“Many dentists are small business owners and employers, wrote Dr. Rudy Liddell, with the Florida Dental Association in a statement to WINK News. “And we are working to connect them with information and available financial resources to support their employees and businesses.”

Rowe said he’s applied for payroll protection and Small Business Administration help, but that relief is not coming soon enough. He fears the financial consequences of the pandemic will put many mom-and-pop dental practices out of business for good.

“You are going to see a massive overtaking by the dental corporation of the world, no doubt about it,” Rowe said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order banning routine dental procedures is set to expire May 8. The Florida Dental Association is part of the health industry group working with the governor’s Reopen Florida Task Force.

Lidell said the health and safety of their practitioners and patients are the top priority.

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