After a long year and a half of dealing with Covid 19, we are finally starting to see some hope of a finish line. Covid-19 vaccines and governmental guidelines are finally allowing us to shift back to a normal world slowly. But will the world ever be truly normal again? Many of us experienced huge spikes in our anxiety levels throughout the pandemic, and while some people are very excited about things returning to normal, others are frightened and continue to experience anxiety. So what can we do to relieve Covid-19 fears in a post-Covid world?
Returning to Social Norms
If there’s anything that we really lost during this pandemic, it may be our social lives and abilities. After mainly being stuck in our homes for over a year and only visiting friends and family from a distance, it wasn’t difficult for some social anxieties to arise. While returning to social norms is an exciting thought for some, others become stressed out at the thought. What was once a common courtesy to say “hello” or hold a door for a stranger has now evoked feelings of fear in many. And for true introverts, the thought of simply maintaining a Covid-19 lifestyle may even seem attractive.
So how can we return to social norms? Well, we need to do it slowly. While some people may be able to jump right in, we all must respect each other’s boundaries and proceed with caution. We must pay attention to governmental guidelines and recommendations from health care officials. If we suddenly just allow everyone to go maskless in public, this is bound to wreak havoc on those with anxiety. Slowly returning to a normal lifestyle in gradual stages is our best chance of returning to a life without post-Covid anxiety.
What About Dental Practices?
As dentists and dental practitioners, we need to be more cautious and patient than ever. Visiting the dentist is already stressful, and adding Covid into the equation makes things even worse. Imagine having extreme anxiety over being maskless in public and then taking a trip to the dentist where the patient is reclined in a vulnerable position with no mask to “protect” him/her? It’s recipe for a panic attack.
So as dentists, we need to integrate back into social norms even more slowly. We also need to be very careful to pay attention to our patient’s individual needs. If a patient seems particularly stressed out, we need to assess the situation and may need to take a step back if necessary.
Maintaining extreme cleanliness and hygiene expectations will also be part of integrating back into a normal society. In fact, we may need to accept that things may never be the same when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene. Covid-19 cleaning procedures may continue to be expected in a post-Covid world, at least for a few years afterward.
This pandemic brought forth many new protocols in a dental office. Contactless check-ins became a hot area of growth. Patient forms are filled out online, payments are made online, and other procedures that used to be handled with physical contact. So this is a good time to look at software and other services that allow you to run your practice even more efficiently yet give your patients confidence that your office is following best protocols for minimizing the transmission of any illnesses or diseases.
We can’t expect the world to return to normal immediately. Doing so is going to have to be a gradual process that is comfortable for everyone. And as dentists, we need to be especially attentive to our patient’s needs. Being attuned to our clients and how they feel is what will keep them returning to us in a post-Covid world.