By Emmet Scott, President, Association of Dental Support Organizations
Today I am pleased to write the first of what will be a series of columns for Efficiency in Group Practice. In the coming issues, I will use this space to provide a regular update on the great work being done by the Association of Dental Support Organizations (ADSO) on behalf of our industry.
With 2020 finally in the rearview mirror, the ADSO is looking ahead to the future of dentistry. In March, the ADSO will hold a virtual meeting for our member organizations. The event titled “Boldly Evolving Dentistry: ADSO’s Members-Only Virtual Event” is poised to offer the highest level of training and guidance to our members as we prepare to move into the future and past the COVID-19 pandemic. This two-day event will feature keynotes from top dentistry leaders in the country, tailored breakout programming, and unique networking opportunities to provide an inclusive learning experience. With multiple event tracks including leadership, clinical, compliance, and I.T. members from all levels and roles of their organization will gain the knowledge necessary to carry dentistry into this next phase. Registration for the event will open to ADSO members later this month.
The ADSO has also spent the last nine months of the COVID-19 pandemic working to reinforce to the general public and political leaders that dentistry is essential, safe, and should remain open. Through targeted ad and social media campaigns and consistent engagement with relevant stakeholders, we have managed to reopen dental offices in all 50 states and are continuing to work diligently to keep them open and safe. This was not possible without the dedicated effort of our supported dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, office managers, clinic staff, and everyone else working on the ground to ensure that the highest level of safety and infectious disease protocols were followed every day. Additionally, researchers from the Cambridge University Hospital Trust have found that those with periodontal disease are at a 25% increased risk of heart disease, three times the risk of getting diabetes, and 20% raised risk of getting high blood pressure. These are all risk factors for a severe case of COVID-19 and demonstrate the importance of continuing to allow access to dental care.
As we continue to combat this virus, we are calling for dentists to be granted the ability to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to patients. Not only do dentists have the training and skill necessary to safely vaccinate patients, but dentists also serve as a trusted health partner in their communities and are often one of the few health care providers that patients see regularly. According to a survey from the American Dental Association, 60% of respondents say they would get a vaccine from their dentist. As vaccine rollout ramps up, dental offices are in a prime position to help alleviate some of the stress on our health care system. We are ready and eager to offer that support.