Learn How One Dental Practice Navigated the COVID19 Locked Down and Reopening

link dental care

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April 21, 2021

Today on the Capitalist Sage, Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini are joined by Aristo Shyn DMD, the owner of Link Dental Care in Peachtree Corners. Dr. Shyn has been working hard to make sure that his clients and patients, as well as his staff, remain safe during this COVID time. Listen in to hear how he has re-imagined what his dental practice does.

Phone: 770-448-1977
Website: LinkDentalCare.com
Social Media: @linkdentalcare

“I think it’s so important for people to have confidence in you, whether that’s your own staff or the patients. And I’m not talking about just dental treatment, but you know, during these times they need to have confidence in you that they’re safe and that you’re being transparent… And people having trust and confidence in you, I mean it’s not a responsibility that I take lightly.”

Aristo Shyn, DMD

Where in the show is that topic:
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:01:59] – About Dr. Shyn and Link Dental Care
[00:04:59] – Advantages of Private Practice
[00:05:31] – First Impressions
[00:06:55] – Safety
[00:09:40] – Other Challenges
[00:13:01] – What Went Well
[00:15:45] – Staying Healthy
[00:19:20] – Future of Dentistry
[00:26:02] – Industry Help
[00:27:30] – Closing

Podcast Transcript:

Karl: [00:00:30] Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and tips from seasoned pros and expert to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors and my cohost is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets, Digital Marketing and the publisher of the Peachtree Corner Magazine. Hey Rico, how are you doing today?

Rico: [00:00:48] Hey, Karl, very good. You’re doing well?

Karl: [00:00:52] We’re doing well. It’s Friday, so we’re getting into the weekend. And we have a bonus episode of the podcast today, but first, why don’t we introduce our sponsors?

Rico: [00:01:02] Sure. So our lead sponsor is Hargray Fiber. Hargray Fiber is a large Southeast company providing fiber optic solutions to small businesses and large enterprise businesses. As well as bundle services and even tools like smart office that helps with tele-working. It helps with companies and their employees either onsite or offsite. So they’re a big partner with businesses, as well as the communities like here in Peachtree Corners. They’re involved with Curiosity Labs at Peachtree Corners, with the city, with a lot of organizations like Atlanta Tech Park. They’ve been a sponsor of the cyber health tech event that just recently happened. So they’re involved in the community. They’re not the cable guy. They’re the company that provides real good service to you and they are right in your community. So check them out at HargrayFiber.com or Hargray.com/Business. And you’ll be able to see what they can do for you.

Karl: [00:01:59] Fabulous. Well, fiber optics and everyone that’s doing all this homeschooling. And even as we’re broadcasting virtually, it’s becoming a critical part of everybody’s life. So, please do check out Hargray Fiber if you need fiber-optic and internet service in Peachtree Corners and surrounding areas. Today we’re continuing in our series talking to local business owners that are reopened, that are operating their businesses and being successful in navigating keeping people safe yet still providing them the services that they can. And today we’re honored to have as our guest, Dr. Shyn, the owner of Link Dental Care right here in Peachtree Corners, in Gwinnett County. And he’ll talk to us a little bit about how he’s been navigating his business and his team and his clients through the COVID-19 pandemic. From before, what had happened and through the reopening and how he’s keeping people safe and just, you know, being a small business owner in the community, helping us serve the clients. Thank you Dr. Shyn, and why don’t you start off by introducing yourself to everyone?

Dr. Shyn: [00:03:14] Absolutely. Before I start, I wanna say it’s an honor to be on a podcast whether I be on Joe Rogan.

Rico: [00:03:25] I only wish.

Dr. Shyn: [00:03:28] Yeah, but my name is Aristo Shyn. I’m the owner of Link Dental Care. We’re currently in our eighth year of business. And we offer comprehensive dentistry to our patients, meaning that we’re ready for your routine dental cleaning and fillings all the way to more involved procedures having to do with cosmetic or implant dentistry. As far as a little bit about myself, I was born in Kansas City, Missouri. I grew up in Alaska pursuing a golf career. And then moved to Florida to finish my dental training. So, luckily my dentistry turned out better than my short game. And I’ve been in Georgia since 2012. And, you know, as it says on my bio on the website, I am very happy to be away from grizzly bears and hurricanes.

Karl: [00:04:22] Fabulous. And so since you came to Georgia, what made you think of opening a practice here in the Peachtree Corner area of Georgia?

Dr. Shyn: [00:04:31] Well, I was looking for, looking to go into private practice in the Metro Atlanta area. I kind of lucked out ending up in Peachtree Corners. It turned out to be a good move, I love the area. And you know, for me personally, I had to you know, get out of corporate dentistry and start my own private practice.

Karl: [00:04:59] What are some of the things that you’ve enjoyed about, private practice, things that have been, that you liked about that?

Dr. Shyn: [00:05:08] Well, you have autonomy. You’re able to offer your own set of standards and define your standard of care. And, you know, it does come with, you know, responsibilities and some stress as I think all business owners experienced this year. But you know, for me, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Karl: [00:05:31] No, that’s fine. I find that with a lot of small business owners that there is a freedom and it’s also fulfilling because you could be more connected into your community very often here locally when you’re a small business owners. And I think a lot of people like that, it’s being able to support small businesses. Well, this year has been a really tough year for small business owners, but I’m curious, when did you first hear about COVID-19 and what were your first thoughts when you started hearing about it and how it might impact you and your clients and your business?

Dr. Shyn: [00:06:10] Well, I mean, this is a bit of a blur, but I think we first heard about it, I first heard about it early in the year. Maybe January, February. And I didn’t really put much thought into it. And then, it became a very real situation very quickly.

Karl: [00:06:30] Yeah.

Dr. Shyn: [00:06:31] Yeah. You know, overall, I think we’re still on a roller coaster. I’m not sure if this ride is over yet, you know. But, you know, overall I’m very grateful to be working, thankful to have a staff so well prepared, and very thankful to our patients who have been some of the most loyal people you can ask for.

Karl: [00:06:55] I’ve got, so a family member that work in healthcare and hospitals and different. And I remember early on there was a lot of guidance through the CDC and other public health
services to help them be prepared to protect themselves and their clients. I was wondering, what were some of the things, as you started to learn about it that you had to do differently to keep yourself and your employees safe as well as your clients?

Dr. Shyn: [00:07:25] Well, we’ve had, we’ve expanded on protocols that we’ve already had in place. I mean, us being a healthcare setting, a medical setting. We were already familiar with OSHA guidelines. But you know, in addition to that, we have modified how patients check in. For example, you know, your parking lot is the new reception room and we’ve, I mean, we’ve taken out, you know, most of the chairs in our reception area, we’ve taken out all magazines. We’ve taken temperatures for everyone that’s walked in the reception area. We have, I forget how many air purifiers we’ve installed, but we’ve installed a bunch of them. We’ve been monitoring how many people are in the practice at one time. So we’ve set a cap on maximum capacity. We’ve installed high speed suction systems, and all additional high speed suction systems and all offertories. Disinfectants all over the place and obviously a PPE vent. You know, everyone’s talking about how we’ve lucked out a little bit with PPE. So I think, I’m pretty sure I left out a few items, but that’s yeah. It’s been, that’s been, that’s what’s been happening.

Rico: [00:08:47] You know, just for transparency, I am a patient of Dr. Shyn’s. Just recently although my family has been going to Dr. Shyn for a little while. So I can attest to some of the things that Dr. Shyn is saying. So I walk in, you know, I get, I have to call, I have to before I even come in, I get temperature checked. And, you know, the staff is there to be able to make you feel comfortable. And I certainly felt that. And certainly Dr. Shyn has made me feel comfortable there as well. So, I think you’re doing the right thing. I certainly saw a big difference between, you know a normal pre-COVID dental practice and then the post-COVID dental practice. And all the safety precautions. So the air purifiers are the biggest thing that stood out to me along with, you know, the M-95s and the other stuff that, you know, everyone has to wear, you know, in the medical profession, so.

Karl: [00:09:40] I’m curious about some of the challenges that you faced besides having to implement more safety procedures. What about for clients’ behaviors? Communication? What have been some of the challenges getting people comfortable with rescheduling their appointments and starting to meet. Probably you might’ve experienced some pent up demands.

Dr. Shyn: [00:10:03] Sure. Well, you know, we had two phases of challenges. The first one was during the actual, you know, we were shut down for almost two months. That, we had that phase and then we had the challenge of getting everyone caught up and you know, scheduled after we reopened. So I mean, during the shutdown phase, I was really focused on what’s gonna happen with my staff, my existing patients and how we’re going to deal with dental emergencies. And you know, we always kept the phone lines open, even during the shutdown. I kept in touch with my staff. We kept in touch with our patients, whether that was over the phones, or through emails. And, you know, I think we did pretty good accommodating dental emergencies during that phase. It wasn’t easy, but you know, we don’t take dental emergencies lightly. And another thing that I did during the shutdown was I actually opened, I actually did virtual and telephone consultations for anyone who had a dental emergency or dental question. And, I even gave out my contact information to the Norcross cooperative industry and even our local church. So that was a pretty cool thing. And we didn’t take a penny for that obviously. I mean during, after opening, you know, we extended hours. We extended, we expanded staff. We expanded hours and now we’ve been, pretty much as busy as ever.

Karl: [00:11:47] Okay. I’m curious, sometimes you go through something like that. And most people have never experienced, an event like this. But you do the best you can with the information and the resources that are provided to you both local level, government level, et cetera. Looking back in hindsight, you could play armchair quarterback. Are there things you think, you saw other businesses doing or you might’ve considered that if you knew what you knew now you could have done quicker or better before to kind of prepare. And if something were to happen in the future, any learnings from that?

Dr. Shyn: [00:12:28] You know, besides, you know, picking up more PPE before this. Yeah. You know, honestly, given what we’ve had to deal with, how, you know, all of us got blindsided. I don’t know if there’s a whole lot I’d do differently. I think our team pulled through it and did a decent job in handling this.

Karl: [00:13:01] What about the flip side? What do you think, you know, this sometimes through things like this, it creates opportunity, in multiple levels. What are, are there anything that you think that went right and either during and now looking forward, what are some of the things that make, might have helped both the business, your clients, your staff.

Dr. Shyn: [00:13:25] Well, I want to say that it’s, I think it’s so important for people to have confidence in you, whether that’s your own staff or the patients. And I’m not talking about just dental treatment, but you know, during these times they need to have confidence in you that they’re safe and that you’re being transparent. And I mean, a lot of these can apply, I think to us, you know, not just during this period, but you know, during all times, but right now I think it’s more important than ever. And people having trust and confidence in you, I mean it’s not a responsibility that I take lightly.

Karl: [00:14:14] Yeah. I think you’re hitting on something really key there. When we collectively go through times like 2020, bringing, coming together as a community, both business community and the local community is really important. And it’s times like that, where you could actually build more trust. Because people need each other and people are trying to find ways to help. And I’ve been so impressed what the local community has done. The schools are providing food for kids, people helping with learning. I see, pod groups of students now where with distant learning, people are helping each other. You’re seeing drop-offs happening at neighbors houses. But even if you think about it in your practice and so on, it’s figuring out ways to communicate with folks and help continue to build a trust when people are uncomfortable. I’m curious, if somebody was really still uncomfortable with going to get health care, dental or others, any advice you have for people that might at home still be really uncomfortable. They may feel that they’re more vulnerable than others. Is there any advice you can give to those folks? And as far as that, they’re trying to make that decision on seeking help and care and doing some of the things like going to a dentist eye doctor, et cetera.

Dr. Shyn: [00:15:45] You know, it’s, the data is all over the place right now. And I don’t think anyone really has a firm grasp on how transmissible this is and what the do’s and don’ts are. But, I mean, I can speak. You know, where a mask, have hand sanitizer on you. And you know, I can speak for our office in that, I mean, we’ve taken every reasonable, feasible, option there is in order to make sure you’re safe inside the office. So, yeah. That’s, that’s all I have.

Karl: [00:16:26] Yeah. You know, I think you’re hitting, you know, reminding people of that. Social distance when they can, wear a mask. I recently saw something where it talked about the transmission rate when both people are wearing a mask, drops down to single digits, two, three, four, 5% versus both people not wearing mask. And it’s a hard change for people to implement. But what, I know, for my family and I, and folks that we talked to. We’re looking at the community good at this. And the sooner we can get the transmission rate down and whatever tactics it takes, the masks, the social distancing, the hygiene. To do that, allows people that may not be comfortable to go back and see their dentist and kids to go back to school and people to continue to live their lives and support local businesses. And so we’re in a challenging environment because I know everyone isn’t on the same page with that. But, it’s been shown as people started implementing that you can continue to get back into normal activity, normalized activity. Sure, it’s awkward, because you may have to wear a mask more then you like, but I think it’s so important that we try to protect folks like yourself and your staff by doing what we can as a community to lower the transmission rates. So you could do and serve your clients as well as we can. So that’s always something that’s good to remind people of.

Dr. Shyn: [00:18:12] Long story short, we’re going overboard until this thing is completely cleared out. So that’s, that keeps things simple.

Rico: [00:18:24] You know, it’s interesting because especially in your profession versus any other right? Pizza place that delivers pizza, you do the curbside pickup, whole different animal than, than even a doctor’s office, a physician that’s where both patients are wearing masks unless there’s a temperature check. You know, an oral temperature check, I guess. In your place, you know, you have to feel comfortable a patient with opening their mouth while they’re sitting on that chair to be able to do that. You know?

Dr. Shyn: [00:18:54] Sure, sure.

Rico: [00:18:55] So, you know, I had that…

Dr. Shyn: [00:18:57] I’ve tried to do dentistry with a mask on it’s, when the patient has a mask on it doesn’t work out too well.

Karl: [00:19:05] A little innovation, right?

Rico: [00:19:10] I’m thankful that you guys go overboard though.

Dr. Shyn: [00:19:13] I’m good, but not, not that good.

Karl: [00:19:20] Now, I’m just curious about your thoughts on the future of dentistry. If you’re thinking into the future, this will pass at some point. Do you think this will have a lasting impact in any aspect of dentistry in general, in your practice in particular?

Dr. Shyn: [00:19:38] Well, I think going forward, we’re going to be more aware than ever regarding, I mean, our industry and any healthcare industry, we’ve been dealing with, I mean the Common Flu, HIV TB. So, you know, this is another virus that we’re dealing with. But I think after this phase most, if not all, dental practices are going to be safer and more aware of safety guidelines than ever before. I think that that’s going to be at least one positive effect from this year.

Rico: [00:20:20] Let me ask you, you just brought up a good point. I was at a physician’s office a few weeks ago, actually my wife was. And, you know, the front staff is always the first to be exposed to anything. And you brought up like TB and flu and stuff like that. You know, before this, I just never thought about it. You know, a patient walks in, who knows what they have? That’s why they’re there because they’re not feeling well. And they’re in there because they want to find out what’s wrong with them. They could have that. They could have TB, they could have the flu, they could have COVID, they could have anything right? So changing the way we, I guess COVID has really helped to look at that.

Dr. Shyn: [00:21:02] I think it’s brought on a lot more awareness across the board outside of healthcare. But you know, there are some rules that we’ve always followed and that’s to treat every patient as if they’re infectious. So, like I said, I think you know, it’s something that our industry has been dealing with. But I think, you know, we’re gonna, I mean, we spent a great deal of time focusing on this and I think, you know, we’re gonna come out, you know, more refined and more aware of these issues than ever before.

Karl: [00:21:38] When I look around the world, other parts of the world that have dealt with viruses before, it was interesting to see when this happened, the response time to it, and the people were more prepared because there’s a memory. I know our children are growing up in this 2020 we’re wearing masks and social distancings and washing their hands is becoming a very normalized part of life. And I could see this experience will prepare us in the future if other things like this, you know, I’m sure people will always have masks now in their house and we’ll be able to start implementing it. I think people will look at cleaning hands, which helps with the flu anyway, and so many other things as a more regular thing that they do in their daily practice. And so sometime these types of experiences who forces us to prepare for the future, not just individually, but I’m pretty sure the government and local authority, they’re having protocols and they’re rewriting playbooks and stockpiling certain things so that they can, you know, if there was a surge they can respond to it quicker. I think we were collectively, you know, we just never thought that this would be a problem, but once you get stung by something like this, I don’t know if that we can, we could forget it.

Rico: [00:23:11] Yeah. And you know, I haven’t spoken to a lot of different businesses. It’s really interesting to see how everyone has looked at COVID-19 through the lens of their business, their industry, and how they’ve all been and able to succeed. Maybe to pivot a little bit, I mean, in your business, it is a business, right healthcare, you haven’t had a need to pivot. You just have had to challenge on how to progress. How to step forward through this, whereas other businesses may have had to pivot. They may have had to change the way they do business or even change their business entirely because they’re not making it. Restaurants that are closing, restaurants that become ghost kitchens all of a sudden, because you know, they’re just doing deliveries. I don’t think I’ve, I mean, there’s certainly restaurants open now with dining rooms, for example. But there are restaurants that are still closed dining rooms. Chick-fil-A still only does curbside and drive through pickups. They don’t do dining room. So you have, to me your business is way more challenging because there is no other way to do this like you said.

Karl: [00:24:18] Right.

Rico: [00:24:19] Have to step right through it. And you have to find that and meet those challenges head on and do it well.

Dr. Shyn: [00:24:25] We can’t do virtual either.

Rico: [00:24:28] No, you can’t. You can do a little tele-health, like you said, but you can’t reach through the screen, right?

Karl: [00:24:34] But, you know, even if it involves all the adjustment, the fact that people are more sensitive with symptoms, coughing and fevers and these types of symptoms. Self screening at home, I suspect most people, if they knew they had a fever in 2019, they might still show up for their dental appointment. And today, you know, that would be something that people would even before you have to screen them self select and say, I’m not feeling well. Let me reschedule my appointment. So I don’t impact your employees and others. And that behavior shift could help us keep healthier in general. You would argue that would’ve probably been the right thing to do. I remember people being, road warriors and proud of showing up to work every day, whether they were sick or not. That was 1980. That was a pride thing for people to do that. And now over the years, it started dying away. No, if you’re sick, it’s okay if you stay home. Jump on your computer and protect the rest of the office. And so maybe some of that becomes a legacy of this, where people are just taking more responsibility of protecting others because this COVID-19 dealing with a very immediate instant where that was necessary. But, I think hopefully that helps as we go into the future.

Rico: [00:26:02] Have you gone through anymore, you know, the industry has conferences and such. Conventions and seminars and stuff. Have you, obviously now it would be virtual. Have you seen any or taken any that has helped at all?

Dr. Shyn: [00:26:20] As far as?

Rico: [00:26:22] Any, any industry wide.

Dr. Shyn: [00:26:28] Oh yeah, sure. I mean, yeah, I mean, we, I had a lot of free time for a while. So, you know, we took a lot of, I think a lot of CE, virtual courses on dentistry itself, managing, you know, COVID. But you know, we, I mean, we’re still, we’re constantly getting bombarded with information from the CDC, world health organization, American dental association, Georgia dental association. So, you know, we’re keeping up with those guidelines on a regular basis.

Karl: [00:26:59] That’s excellent. So I’m curious, one of the things during the time when you were closed down, I wondered if you got to play much golf during that time or that an activity that you can do and stay social distance.

Dr. Shyn: [00:27:15] I thought that was going to happen. There’s no chance with a newborn.

Karl: [00:27:22] Oh, you have a newborn?

Dr. Shyn: [00:27:24] Yeah. I think, thank you. I think golf is gonna be on standby for awhile.

Karl: [00:27:30] No I understand. Well, I wanted to at least, thank you so much for joining us today. And, if folks wanted to reach out and talk to you some more and, what’s the best way for someone to reach you?

Dr. Shyn: [00:27:45] Best way would be by phone. My number is 770-448-1977. And our website is LinkDentalCare.com and you can find it on there as well.

Karl: [00:27:59] Excellent. Well, we’ll put those in the show notes. I’m curious you know, going into the fall season and I know you’re probably super busy catching up. Do you have anything going on? What do you have going on over the next several months?

Dr. Shyn: [00:28:13] Well, we’re gonna, you know, my focus is to keep doing what we’ve been doing. What’s worked for us, not just this year but for the past several years. And I want to highlight that we are focusing on not just new patients, but also making sure that all of our existing patients are taken care of. And I also want to make sure my staff is taken care of as well so I will continue to invest in the patient experience. I will continue to invest in my staff and continue to be involved and give back to the local community as I have been.

Karl: [00:29:04] Well, I just want to thank you small business owner, helping to protect the community and serve the people here in Peachtree Corners and Gwinnett County. And the many others like yourself that are doing that is what really continues to drive our economy as well as really help us navigate through this. So thank you so much for all that you’re doing and we want make sure that you’re successful. So thanks for joining us today. Our pleasure, our pleasure

Rico: [00:29:36] Hang in there as we sign off too.

Karl: [00:29:39] I’d like to thank Dr. Shyn, the owner of Link Dental Care here at Peachtree Corners for sharing your experience, going through 2020 and everything else that we’ve done, that we’ve been doing over this past year in the community and just being one of those business leaders that are, that is out there doing their part. So thank you for that. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. What we do every day is work with business owners to help them with either evaluations on their business, helping them grow through acquisition in purchasing other businesses, or when they’re ready helping them with finding a buyer and selling their business. Transworld Businesses Advisors you could reach us at www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree, office here at Atlanta Tech Park. If you want to stop by and say hi, we do see people by appointments still. But we try to keep everyone safe. Rico, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’ve got going on?

Rico: [00:30:38] Sure. So I’m Rico Figliolini, I published Peachtree Corners magazine. We do that six times a year. We’re working on the next issue now, which should be fun. It’s a pets and their people pull out center spread. So, if you’ve got pictures of you and your pets, you know, we’re doing a giveaway starting out next week, you know, feel free to participate and we’ll be pulling pictures from that, for that center fold pullout spread. We’re doing an article about backyard retreats, you know, everyone’s sort of stuck at home to a degree still. You may not be traveling. So maybe that backyard fire pit and stuff like that could be of interest. So we’re exploring some other people’s backyards to see how they’ve done theirs. And we’re going to be doing something we’re going to be calling curating together, things that people are thankful for this year. Cause even with COVID-19 Karl, I mean, we were all thankful, certainly for our families. Friends, things that we do in life. So just want to be able to see what individuals are thankful for maybe beyond their family and friends and what they see as positives and thankful for. So we’re going to be covering some of that. Mighty Rockets is my company. You can find me at MightyRockets.com. You can look me up on LinkedIn at Rico Figliolini. If you can spell that out, I think you will get quite there almost. I do, I handle companies and corporations that need social media content work, product videos, podcast productions, and such. So feel free to reach out to me. And one last thing I just want to say thank you again to our lead sponsor Hargray Fiber that helps make these family of podcasts happen.

Karl: [00:32:16] And what about the last Peachtree Corners magazine? It’s out there people can check it out.

Rico: [00:32:22] My goodness, yes. I think I’ve had calls for this publication, you know, we’ve mailed more copies than ever before. So we’ve mailed 19,700 copies on this last issue. And because of COVID, we’ve had to contract the amount of places that we can place this. So I have people calling me up, where can I find copies? I mean, literally, I just like, can’t put out enough copies. I don’t have any more copies to put out and people are still calling me cause they can’t find the copies that we’ve put out. They’re gone already. So I’m happy. It was a great issue. Karl you’re a good subject matter as well, you’re in there. So we’ve covered diversity in this issue, along with health and wellness in Amber field community. And so a lot of good stuff in here, so.

Karl: [00:33:12] Excellent. And you can also find online at…

Rico: [00:33:14] Yes, LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com. If you go there, not only will you find the family of podcasts in the tabs at the top, but you’ll be able to read the digital edition as well.

Karl: [00:33:26] Fabulous. Well, Rico continue doing what you’re doing. It’s great to see, all these stories and meeting our, learning a little bit more about our community and the people that live here, that work here, people that play here. And in the upcoming months we’re going to see a bridge be finished in Peachtree Corners. So folks get to go explore more parts of Peachtree corners. So thank you everyone. Stay tuned for the next episode of the Capitalist Sage. Take care.

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