By: Tamara Nazzal

We believe in the power of this community! That staying connected accelerates our learning and makes us stronger.  We are a resilient industry and as leaders, we see opportunity with change.

Earlier this week, Open Implants hosted its’ second Coffee Talk Virtual Roundtable Discussion.  Lab owners from across the country came together to discuss the topics that are on their minds right now.  The group shared their ideas, advice and strategies. Here is a summary of what we learned below!

–> Sign up to participate in the next Coffee Talk Virtual Roundtable.

SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
What is it?  
  • This is a forgivable loan from the federal relief program for small businesses, which is designed to keep workers employed during the COVID-19 crisis.  
  • The amount available to you is based on 2.5x your average monthly payroll for the previous calendar year.   
  • 75% of the funds must be used on payroll and there is a penalty for reducing staff or salaries.  The other 25% can be spent on mortgage interest, rent or utilities. 
  • Contact your accountant for support. 
  • Your payroll company (e.g. ADP) may have created special reports to make your application easier. 
  • Apply through your bank as soon as possible. 
  • Learn more about PPP from the US Small Business Administration. 

Within the OI community some dental labs made it through on the first round, while others are hoping for success on the next round.  

Apply with your bank as soon as possible

You may have heard that the original funds from the federal relief program, which was approved on March 27, has been exhausted.  More PPP funds  will be available soon. The Senate and House have passed this second relief package.  It is expected that the President will sign it into law today.

Tip: If you get funded, establish a separate bank account just for these funds.  It will make it easier to manage the funds and report on your compliance with the grant requirements.  Thanks to Mark Griffin, owner of Great State Dental Lab in Texas for the advice!

Reopening and PPE

Dentists, hygienists and assistants are listed among the highest occupational hazards for COVID-19, according to the US Department of Labor.  So how are you communicating with your dentists about their procedures and your expectations of them when you reopen?  Here is what the group shared. 

  • Most folks said they are doing our normal disinfecting and sanitizing procedures, however, they will be adding requirements for wearing masks, checking temperatures and other modifications to allow for proper social distancing. 
  • Doctors play an important role in our safety in the lab:
    • It is important for the clinics to do their part and send things out clean. 
    • Talk with your doctors about what policies they might be changing to help them think through the communications with patients. 
    • This is a great opportunity to send more cases digitally. 
  • We will not allow patients to come into the lab for custom shades for a few months. 
  • Fred Rapp, the CEO of Open Implants, owns and operates a laboratory in France.  They have procured washable cotton masks and a washing machine and will provide staff with clean masks every day. 
  • We need to be thoughtful about all of our workspaces, including the lunch area.  Fred Rapp has 80 employees and will be doing lunches in shifts so employees can maintain proper social distance.
  • Mark Griffin of Great State in Texas provided his docs with KN95 respirator masks he has available. In the lab they use surgical masks.    
  • A Massachusetts lab owner has shields setup at workstations as an added precaution for folks at the bench. 
  • A CT-based lab owner is no longer using reusable bags for transporting cases.  He is switching to paper bags.  
  • Some tips for Managing Risks of Coronavirus COVID-19 in the: 
  • There is also an upcoming NADL Webinar: Protecting Patients and Staff when Re-Opening The Dental Practice on Thursday, April 30, 2020, 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern. Here is the link to Register

Most labs are open on a very limited basis, serving customers for their emergency only cases.  

See the ADA list of State Mandates & Recommendations

Making the most of down time

Business owners are taking advantage of this down time to do the important work that they can’t always find time to do.  

  • Continue to manage key relationships and communicate with their customers and employees.  
    • Mike Farago said he is receiving a lot of questions with customers and the most effective way for him to communicate with them is by video.  
  • Reprioritize projects and revising budgets.  
  • Improve the lab space by cleaning, painting, waxing floors, reorganizing.  
  • Educate and cross-train employees.  Some labs are doing sessions themselves and others are taking advantage of webinars from 3Shape and other organizations.
  • Print PPE for your local hospitals. Open Implants has shared some STL files for those exploring printing face shields. 

Thanks for reading! Check out the Open Implants COVID-19 Resource Hub.  We have put together a curated list of resources tailored for dental labs.    

–> Sign up to participate in the next Coffee Talk Virtual Roundtable.