Those two simple words sound different this year, don’t they? As much a challenge as a positive wish? You, like me, may struggle with how to communicate with friends, clients, and loved ones — even at a time when our need for connection has never been greater. It may be hard to compose your 2021 greeting to your patients in light of current conditions. To convey optimism and care while still acknowledging the seriousness of our situation.
Certainly, dentists and their staff members have faced the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a business where proximity is essential, even the most vigilant sanitation procedures and cleanliness standards have needed to be upgraded. You now ask screening questions; insist patients wear masks; add extra sanitizers here, there, and everywhere. You’ve even taken the magazines out of your waiting rooms.
As you prepare greetings for a new year, you may want to convey those upgrades to your patients. If you haven’t already found them, the ADA offers a downloadable suite of communication tools to help educate your patients about what they will experience when returning for non-emergency care. They’re customizable so you can adapt to your own practice.
As if making changes within your workplace weren’t challenging enough, the need for emergency dentistry has increased. We hear of dentists seeing as many cases of tooth fracture in six weeks as they previously saw in six years. Why? Stress, certainly. Restless sleep, with teeth grinding. Also, ergonomic factors caused by writing from couches, Zooming from beds, teaching from bar stools at a kitchen counter. A slouched spine makes for a painful mouth.
Have you considered adding a few pointers in your New Year’s greetings? Suggesting to your patients that they eat right, sit tall, relax with baths and/or mediation in the evening? (My health insurance, which usually covers a gym membership, sent me a FitBit at the beginning of the pandemic, one that nags me to walk 250 steps every hour. Turns out to be a life-changer for a sedentary writer.)
One thing hasn’t changed. You’ll want to end your message with hope and appreciation. Because even as we enter the darkest time of the year, even in a time that has its own heaviness about it, we know the virtue of gratitude.
As the masters have said:
He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything. – ARABIAN PROVERB
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness. – DESMOND TUTU
The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship. – AMELIA EARHART
Please know how much Trojan appreciates its clients, year-in and year-out, good times and challenging times, and ALWAYS!
We hope your season overflows with bountiful love, and good food, literature, and music, even if the trimmings are different this year.
Romalyn Tilghman has been the editor of Trojan Today for almost thirty years. She is also the author of the award-winning novel, To the Stars Through Difficulties, soon to be published in German as Die Bücherfrauen.