Dentist offices slowly rebounding from COVID shutdowns, as appointment requests surge

Raven Brown
Updated: March 28, 2021 11:33 PM
Created: March 28, 2021 09:23 PM

IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. (WHEC) — Dentists like Dr. Marc Rossow said they are still feeling the impact from the pandemic. 

“There continues to be huge challenges, I think the biggest problem is that we were off from the two months when we were shut down mandatory shutdown for COVID end of March and all of May,” Dr. Rossow says.

Rossow, from Irondequoit, says right now as restrictions ease they're seeing an uptick of people trying to get an appointment in. 

“Even though the pandemic is sort of showing sometimes it's slowing down you know we've seen a recent uptick,” Rossow says. “It would be nice to go to a normal schedule but I just don’t think it’s prudent to do so.”

The problem? Getting an appointment for a new patient could take months due to the backlog of people that were put off during the pandemic. Rossow says he's now booking two to three months out and he's not the only one dealing with this. 

“From March through June we had an enormous surge in the number of emergency patients that we were seeing so if I take a look at the number of patients we saw over the last year just for emergencies alone we saw about 23,000 patients from 43 counties across the state,” Eastman Dental Chief Operating Officer Holly Barone says.

Baron says appointments also are taking longer to ensure COVID safety protocols. 

“We're doing the extra disinfection and safety protocols,” Barone says. “We have to ensure our waiting rooms aren't packed, that we're socially distancing people.” 

Both Rossow and Barone said their also dealing with a major workforce shortage with many of their staff not wanting to come back when officers were able to resume.

“I actually did hire one hygienist who decided after a couple months it wasn't for her and there are a number of hygienists who decided to come back it’s really hard to hire someone right now,” Rossow says. 

Until then, he's urging the community to remain patient as they try to navigate and get everything back on track in the months ahead. 


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