Rachel: Thanks for tuning in at the Medkit page! So, we believe that private and personal health care is a big part of the solution right now, to a lot of the problems we are experiencing in US healthcare. So, due to Covid we have been interviewing private practices and hearing their very unique stories and today we have Dr. David Dillon from Dillon Family Dentistry from Bryn Mawr, PA.
Rachel: Hey, David!
Dr. David: How are you?
Rachel: I am doing well, how are you?
Dr. David: Fantastic!
Rachel: Awesome, so we’re glad to have you on and we are very excited to hear from you today. So, please tell us about your dental practice and what is your specialty and focus?
Dr. David: So I’d say if there was a specialty I would say it’s just kind of a customer service aspect of Dentistry. Which seems to be kind of a cliche for a lot of people, my grandfather was actually credited with being the first guy in the Philadelphia area to teach dentists the kind of customer service that we dentists are doing now. My father benefitted from that and I benefited from everything my father learned over his career, and what he learned from his father and one of the biggest things was that it’s really funny, it’s one of the things that I keep giving other people saying lectures and I don’t know if it was something my grandfather came up with originally, but he was the first one everyone heard saying it…he said just figure every patient has a sign on him that says make me feel special and that’s pretty much what we do. We kind of cater to each patient in the office which is easy because we usually just have one patient in the office at a time.
Rachel: Awesome! So, what, I know you explained a little bit but what makes you guys unique?
Dr David: So we will cater the environment to whatever patient we have in the office. If we have an engineer in the office, we will explain every little detail of how every little thing is going. If we have someone who’s happy to just kind of talk and show pictures and everything else, we all just sit back and have a great time. An anxious person you know we can manipulate the music, we can slow things down, speed it up. Whatever that one patient wants everybody in the office, everybody, everything in the office is catered to that one patient.
Rachel: Awesome! So, what has been the most rewarding aspect of your job but also the most challenging?
Dr David: Most rewarding so I would say, for me it’s the victory of taking someone who’s a dental phobic patient and having them within three visits just come in and be like “Jesus! Why didn’t I just come here my whole life!” They just sit down in the chair and just kind of talk about stuff and everything else and they don’t really even… it’s just all behind them. I think just kind of empowering them to let them know that they’re in control is what it is most of the time. Some people, you just have to show them that you can do it painlessly, but it’s really not as much about pain as people want you to believe. It’s about control and it’s really important to know for each patient exactly, what their trigger is because maybe for one person their trigger is pain so you need to go it another way. But if you’re just getting them SuperDuper numb but you’re not respecting the fact that their thing is control, it doesn’t matter you’re not going to make them feel comfortable just because they’re Super Duper numb.
Rachel: Yeah and I’m sure the more often people come and address little things instead of waiting, you know I’m sure it’s a lot better for them down the road and they pay less and all that kind of stuff too.
Dr David: Yeah, I was just talking. We just had uh, a woman that I knew, I knew her, she and her husband 35 years ago is now my Sonicare rep and she and I were just in here talking and we were talking about how it’s really important that if people are limiting, especially older people that are not wanting to go out into public too often, it’s really important that they do proper home care. They’re doing like the best home care they’ve ever done in their life like everything they can do on the preventative to not have any kind of a dental emergency and you know always be able to do stuff on their timeline. Diana brought up a really good point and it was right now since we seem to be between peaks it’s probably not a bad idea for people to come in right now. It seems like things are gonna start getting crazier again in July and August and then get real crazy in the fall. So, I would say from now till the middle of July is probably a good idea for people to get out and do things that they’re you know considering whether or not they want to do and and after that would be maybe like September and October and then, man, who knows what’s going to come in November in December.
Rachel: Yeah, So now we jump on to the coronavirus train. Tell us, what happened, you know, when we first got, you know, the state home orders from Governor Wolf. Tell us what you thought like, for your dental practice.
Dr David: Wolfe did a great job. He followed a straight scientific protocol and we’re reaping the benefits of that now. Pennsylvania, New Jersey and I think New York are the three states that are having decreases. Our neighbor, Delaware is one of the worst states for increasing their cases and I think they were kind of opening a little bit earlier. So, they shut us down. They mandated that we close. I had already closed my office by the time they put the mandate out. I saw the writing on the wall and so we were mandated to be closed for two months. They took care of a couple emergencies. A few emergencies saw maybe one or two patients a week and then about a month ago they said “Hey! You know Pennsylvania’s been doing pretty well. You can do elective procedures and non-emergent procedures. You just shouldn’t do anything that produces aerosol.” So we started doing cleanings again about a month ago. A week after, they opened up those protocols and just basic stuff and I think probably in the next week or so, I think they’ll open up. I think we’re actually opened up to do pretty much everything we want to do now including aerosol producing procedures kind of like what you said before where people can’t let things go. I think they really understand the risk of not being able to do preventive and not even preventive but just taking care of small problems for people before they become big problems. So that’s really nice that we’re able to do that.
Rachel: Yeah, so tell us what it would be like as a patient, if we made an appointment and came into your office. What happens, what is your covid response? I know you talked a little bit about it but walk us through what you would do with the patient.
Dr David: So, what we do is we try to figure out, like there was an article in the Business Insider that came out at the end of February and it listed the 47 unhealthiest careers in the age of corona and dentists were mentioned seven out of those 47 and three of the top five. And most of it is because what I said before, how things get aerosolized up that’s it that’s a huge problem. So what we did is we went out and we got Hepa filters. This is our HEPA filter – this filter will scrub up the air in this room. i’m fortunate that we have doors, we can close off all the rooms in our offices so that machine when I turn it on full blast, it will scrub the air and here 99.9% – 97% clean in just seven minutes. So we have one in this room, one in the other rooms that we’re using one out in the hallway. So what we do is we minimize our patients’ time in the office. We tell them to stay in their car until their appointment time. On the dot we let them in at 10:30, at 11 o’clock, at 11:15 whatever their time is they come into the office, then they come straight back, they wash their hands and they rinse with peroxide, they sit down and we do the work. We leave the room. We don’t touch anything. We just put the HEPA filter on and they pay Joanne, my receptionist, my office manager. I asked her you know what if she wants on a plastic shield 20, just wear a mask and all. So she’s now in a fishbowl. We gave her a giant screen, that was my arts and crafts project for March. So, she’s back there in a self-contained area, so people spend just a tiny bit of time there paying and setting up their next appointment. And then, when they leave pretty much just about every doorknob is scrubbed down and then once we have the air clean it’s just the same stuff we’ve been doing it to keep everybody from getting hepatitis, tuberculosis and HIV. We just wipe down all the contact surfaces in the office. So there’s a little bit less chitty-chat like for the patient’s own. Maybe there’s a little bit less chitty-chat no one waits in the reception room. If one family comes, if we have three or four people in one family, sure we’ll put them out there and then we wipe it down, turn the filter on and make sure everything’s clean. So I would say we probably have the closest to a sterile environment that anyone could visit in any public space. So, we took what was, you know, the unhealthiest at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year. They identified dentistry as the unhealthiest profession in the world and a lot of it is because of the aerosols. So we took the unhealthiest environment and we made it the cleanest, safest, probably most sterile environment anybody could visit other than their home.
Rachel: That’s amazing and I love how you took yourself around, so the people that are watching can actually see when they go into your office. So, you can see the shield and it’s nice to know that because a lot of people still aren’t up to date about what their healthcare providers are offering or what they’re doing. And it’s so great that you’re able to really show people that’s how we’re doing this. We want the public to know what great work you’re all doing to make things safe for people when they come back for their treatments. That’s amazing. So the next question is I know that you’re pretty active on social media for your business. How has that been in favor of you during Covid?
Dr David: Well, the physical world, the real world is virtually non-existent. It exists virtually so having a virtual presence, having an online presence and stuff is really good. So, we put out a lot of PSAs on lower learning community networks or mainline parent network, one of them just saying “Hey look, you know right now is the time to do the best home care you’ve ever done in your life and the most preventive stuff you know, you might not want to get out and about and on let’s try to keep you from having problems and just talk really quickly about some of the basics of doing that. It allowed me to put stuff out there that our patients can reference. So we send emails out for patients and send them links and things that we have on our social media and our Facebook page and all and it also it’s an information portal for people you know. If you know, my parents were alive and they were, you know, compromised and had health risks I would want them to visit my office more than any other dentist office. There’s very few things that have happened in dentistry. Most of the stuff I think one of most things that has happened in dentistry is kind of like what’s happened to all the mom-and-pop shops, kind of just like what your intro was saying and that’s what’s happening with me and my practice throughout my career. I’ve been practicing for 31 years. Every change that’s happened in society, in insurance companies, in dentistry pretty much favors the large group practices. In all it’s the most profitable way to practice and that’s why everyone’s kind of moving that way. This is the first time anything has painted us more favorably and it’s a pretty big paint. It’s a pretty big paint, you know what we can offer now is pretty amazing. I was talking with a friend of mine two weeks ago and she works in the open group practice. Where there’s no physical walls between all the different operatories. There aren’t doors and she’s like I don’t know we can do I don’t know, if we can do it all with plastic, so I feel bad for them because I don’t know how they’re gonna scramble and do it and even if you have multiple patients in the office at a time you’re not going to be offering a clean or sterile environment. It’s impossible.
Rachel: No, you’re right and I’m so glad that you’re telling everyone all this because what you’re doing is extremely important and the way you’re treating your patients and you’re, you know, talking in community groups about what people can do. You’re just serving your entire community and I know you’re really big into Rotary. You’ve been a member for almost thirty years. So thank you for that and we just we really enjoyed having you today and before you leave please tell us, how people can get in touch with you or your Practice.
Dr David: Great! So, our phone number is 6105255497. The office is kind of closed for the next couple weeks. Oh! I was supposed to be on vacation, but I got stopped at the border of Latvia so my whole family is over there for the summer but on my business card and on my website and everything I give out my cell number my cell is 4842221247. If anyone’s having a problem or even if they just have a question I’ll be happy I’m the kind of person who answers their phone or gets back to texts very quickly. On Facebook we’re Dillon Family Dentistry and we have listed our services that include dental implants services , teeth whitening service, dentures, dental crowns, invisalign and various other dental services and that’s our email address as well Brynmawrdental.com or DylanFamilyDentistry.com
Rachel: Well, David you are the best, thanks so much for hanging out today and talking to us about your unique story during covid and we appreciate it.
Dr David: Rachel, my pleasure thank you very much for the opportunity, thank you and have a great day!
Dr. David M Dillon, DMD
Dr. Dillon is a 3rd generation dentist, his family has been serving the Bryn Mawr area in dentistry for over 50 years.