Dental supply chain challenges, solutions: 4 notes

Amid the new wave of the pandemic, some dental practices are still struggling to obtain enough personal protective equipment.

Below are four stories that highlight the supply challenges dental practices are facing and some solutions:

1. How a New York dental practice avoided shutdown, obtained PPE amid COVID-19 surge
From mid-March to the start of June, Rochester, N.Y.-based Howitt Urgent Dental Care clinic at UR Medicine's Eastman Institute for Oral Health treated 5,000 patients from 48 counties. Yanfang Ren, DDS, PhD, said he paid attention to the pandemic early on; put portable air cleaners in the treatment rooms; and received N95 masks, protective goggles, face shields, isolation gowns and thermometers from seven different universities in China.

2. Chicago dentists still struggling to obtain PPE
Plagued by product shortages and price gouging, some Chicago dentists are still finding it difficult to manage their personal protective equipment supply amid the pandemic. Lauren Zalay, DDS, said her practice pays about $6 for each of its protective gowns now, compared to just $1.89 pre-pandemic. The supply shortage has spurred a dangerous market for counterfeits, with federal authorities seizing $3 million worth of fake masks at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in September, according to WBBM-TV.

3. Lawsuit alleges federal failure to supply front-line healthcare workers with enough PPE
Labor unions representing healthcare workers are suing the federal government over its alleged failure to provide adequate protective gear and other medical supplies to essential workers. Filed Oct. 8, the suit calls on HHS to invoke the full powers of the Defense Production Act to supply front-line workers with sufficient equipment.

4. Henry Schein, The Dentists Supply Company partner to form new dental supply site
Henry Schein partnered with The Dentists Supply Company to launch, an online-only option for purchasing dental supplies that went live in late October. The website offers low pricing, faster delivery service and an expanded portfolio of products to any member of a state dental association.

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