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Dentistry Post Corona: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

December 22, 2020

Filed under: The Stoic Dentist — Barry Polansky @ 8:08 pm

The Great Pandemic of 2020 has created mass disruption in the lives and work for most people. In a current bestselling book, Post Corona, author Scott Galloway has an interesting perspective on the many various changes that we have seen and reveals his theory of what the “new normal” will look like. But don’t be shocked to discover it will just be more of the same.

As the premise of his book, Galloway uses a quote that is often attributed to former premier of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin: “Nothing can happen for decades, and then decades happen in weeks.” Of course Vlad was speaking about the Russian Revolution, but we can apply that logic to what we have witnessed over the past 11 months.

In other words, social and business trends that were already in motion went into turbo mode. The virus has acted as an accelerant. It has affected every one of our lives and every market in the world. Take e-commerce as an example. We have been using Amazon.com for years, yet e-commerce has only grown at a rate of 1% every year. Just before the pandemic, e-commerce was 16% of the economy. Then, from March 2020 through April 2020, that number jumped to 27% in just 8 weeks…just like Vlad said.

Think about other instances like virtual meetings and the emergence of Zoom. I hope you bought their stock. Zoom was around before the virus…now look at it. Stay at home stocks have been on a tear. With gyms closing and people social distancing, Peloton and Lululemon’s Mirror have really taken off.

And what about dentistry? Early on, dental practices were seeing the effect of fears of close contact and aerosol transmission. Then things eased up…practices became busier. Now, with the rise in cases, the fears are returning. One thing we must respect is that we have no control over other people’s behavior. And we have no control over the pesky virus. The vaccine is coming but human behavior will prevail.

As a retired dentist, people continue to ask me one question: “Is it safe to get my teeth cleaned?” My answer, as a dentist, is always yes, but as a patient they will be asking that question for a long time to come…vaccine or not. Dentists must see this through the eyes of their patients.

Galloway, in his book Post Corona, tells us that the existing trends will continue to accelerate…the good ones like stay at home practices, the unpopular ones like masks and excessive PPE, and even the ugly ones like misunderstandings in business and within families. So what do we do?

As a good Stoic, I would advise firstly to accept what we cannot change…the circumstances. Just like a war…it’s unfortunate and not fair but a Stoic accepts the challenge and moves forward. It never pays to get frustrated or angry. Now is the time to build resilience and pay attention to leadership and communication skills.

Yes, the troops are coming, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel (I love clich├ęs), but basic human behavior will prevail in the end.

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