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2020...what a doozy

We begin every year at Wendell Family Dentistry (WFD) with what I call a "Super Meeting". It's an 8 hour meeting dedicated to the new year's goals, initiatives, big picture ideas, training, and reflection on where we've been and where we're going. It's a great time to get any new team members grounded in who we are and what we do. This meeting has been critical to our team maintaining its culture while growing from 4 to 19 people in just under 6 years!

The theme of our 2020 Super Meeting was "Ready, Set, Boom" and boom it did. We started 2020 out strong, getting recognized in January by WRAL (our region's main news station) as the top dental practice in NC's Triangle. We were beyond ecstatic when our name was announced! Later that month, the Wendell Chamber of Commerce recognized us for having the best social media presence in town. 2020, so far so good.

Then came corona. Fortunately, after intense preparation we found ourselves ready and our team persevered. We upfitted our office with multiple extra precautionary measures to keep our team and patients safe and found time (we had some extra laying around ) to even make a video for our patients, which I'm reposting here as a reminder of "that time in 2020".

There are 2 things I'm most proud of as it relates to WFD.

(1) Everyone remained employed. We remained open seeing emergencies and taking care of our patients. We got creative and used much of March and April to renovate a property next door and work on our systems. We even found time to hire a consultant to help us improve. We came out of lockdown stronger and more resilient than when we went in.

(2) We ended the year about even with 2019. This is a big deal! We've worked extra hard to make up for the rough March and April that everyone had. Though we were open, most patients postponed their elective treatment. In some ways, 2020 was actually better on us as a business - which sounds crazy, but it's true. It caused a disruption, as my friend Tarun Agarwal likes to say, and it forced us to reinvent ourselves.

Dr. Jared Poplin teaches a Pediatric Dentistry Refresher course at Wendell Learning Center

The same holds true for the Wendell Learning Center. It was definitely a year of reinventing ourselves. We met one goal which was to launch new in-person courses - with special thanks Drs. Poplin, Kelly, and Anderson. We also launched a hygiene study club led by my hygienist Leslie Ramsey.

Our learning center is built for in person continuing education. We were significantly hampered by travel restrictions, however this was a necessary disruption to bring other plans to fruition. Namely, online memberships, webinars and virtual trainings. We spent a lot of our time bringing content online so people could learn from the comfort of their couch. Our most successful free webinar had almost 1000 attendees (some from around the world!) and addressed Aerosols and a 4 prong strategy to getting back to work safely. It's amazing to me that most of the common sense strategies we put together back in early April are still relevant and will continue to be mainstays in our practice. Not only do they apply to SARS-CoV-2, but respiratory pathogens in general.

And less I forget, one other highlight from 2020 was our CDOCS publication documenting a drill-less implant osteotomy using the Solea Laser. And so, despite 2020 being a year of PPE shortages (and 3D printed masks), lockdowns, zoom meetings, and much more, it was also a year of unexpected progress, sometimes in directions that were.....well, unexpected. Thanks to all of those of were part of our journey this year; we wish you all the best in 2021!

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