Virginia dentist's business drops 90% during lockdown, though patients seem eager to visit

A Virginia dentist has experienced about a 90 percent decline in business, though emergency dental patients seem happy to leave the house for treatment, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"People are actually eager to see the dentist," said Phil Cai, DDS, dentist at McLean, Va.-based CAI Dentistry. "Not for dental work but for social interaction."

Dr. Cai, who was fully booked before the COVID-19 pandemic, now only works one or two hours a day to treat emergencies. Only one patient can visit the office at a time, and both patient and provider are fully masked and wear gloves.

Other changes include a new filtration system for the office and the N95 mask Dr. Cai dons. Only two other staff members remain, and Dr. Cai plans to apply for the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program.

In his free time, Dr. Cai has produced more than 1,000 N95 masks for local medical professionals. Made on a machine that usually makes surgical guides for dental implants, Dr. Cai bought N95 filters on Amazon and uses rubber bands and elastic straps to finish the mask.

It will take three to four months for business to return to normal, Dr. Cai estimated. 

More articles on dental:
Senate passes $484 billion aid package for small businesses, COVID-19 testing
10 states most, least slowed down by COVID-19
Elective procedures can begin again in some areas, CMS says

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