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BHG Brief: Dental Industry Updates in the Midst of COVID-19

Question: What trends and challenges are emerging across the dental industry, and what financial resources are available to help dentists reopen? 

Answer: Dental practices are among the hardest hit by COVID-19-related shutdowns, and while relief efforts are being madefinancial options can help bridge the gap in the meantime. 

State of the Industry 

  • Dental professionals make up nearly 36% of the 1.4 million healthcare workers filed for unemployment in April, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. 
  • Among states that have permitted the reopening of dentistry practices in some capacity, 48% of dentists have fully rehired their entire staff. Experts from the American Dental Association (ADA) expect this to continue.2 

Largest Issues to Overcome 

  • The additional costs associated with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other safety modifications required are the largest hurdles to reopening. 
  • Aerosols created by many dental procedures are creating additional risk for dental professionals, with air purifying solutions costing thousands of dollars per unit. 
  • Current provisions of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) do not apply to the significant PPE expenses most dentists will incur in order to reopen. 

Financial Options 

  • A PPP loan through an SBA lender may help with costs related to payroll, benefits, and taxes on compensation. Up to 25% of the loan can be used for mortgage, utilities, and a number of other overhead costs.  
  • An SBA 7(a) loan can help you consolidate business debt or provide the capital you need if you’re looking to acquire a business or renovate your office while procedure counts are low. 
  • Business loans can provide fast, flexible funding to supplement cash flow or consolidate debt. Dentists can also use this funding to cover expenses not eligible for forgiveness through PPP, like PPE equipment, office safety modifications, and other essential operational costs.  

While dental practices begin to reopen with the rest of the country, dentists may be able to leverage their position as providers of a critical service to come out of the shutdown from a place of stability. Acknowledging operational challenges and finding the right financial product and partner to address them is the first step.    

Sources: 1U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics2CNBC