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Episode #335: Post-Covid vs. Peri-Covid, with Dr. Kevin Kwiecien

the best practices show podcast Sep 10, 2021

If you’ve needed an excuse to make changes to your practice, now is the perfect time! Covid-19 brought with it many tragedies, but also opportunities. To offer some perspective on what this means for dentists, Kirk Behrendt brings in Dr. Kevin Kwiecien from The Pankey Institute to reflect on this past year of the pandemic. He explains some of the benefits of this time that he calls peri-Covid, and also reminds us that we are not post-Covid just yet! To hear about the changes you can make and why now is the best time for them, listen to Episode 335 of The Best Practices Show!

Main Takeaways:

  • As of today, we are still not post-Covid. We are very peri-Covid.
  • Peri-Covid is an opportunity to talk about health.
  • It’s also an opportunity to make changes to your practice.  
  • Patients are more amenable to change during peri-Covid. Use this to your advantage!
  • Practice the three P’s: predictability, progress, and purpose.


  • “If you've been pregnant, or have a partner who’s been pregnant, or anybody in the world that's been pregnant, we talk about prenatal vitamins, prenatal care, prenatal this. Then, we’ve got postnatal as you're healing. Even if you look at Peloton right now, they’ve got postnatal yoga and things like that. And, of course, when you're pregnant, you are perinatal. And people always say “post-Covid.” And I'm like, no. There was pre-Covid. We certainly haven't hit post-Covid yet. We’re now over a year-and-a-half peri-Covid. And we thought we were getting to post-Covid, but we’re still quite peri-Covid.” (07:34—08:12)
  • “People thinking, ‘Oh, no. We’re post-Covid now,’ I'm like, it’s a different mentality. You're still in it, and what does that look like for you? When you're pregnant the first month, it feels one way and you like being pregnant. And probably, when the pandemic started, some of you liked the Netflix binging and the forced hanging out at home, especially after you got the PPP loan and the EIDL loan. But then, when you're in your seventh month of pregnancy, you're like, ‘Have I not had this kid yet?’ And now, we’re in the — I don't even know what month we’re at — 16, 17, 18 months of being pregnant with Covid, and we’re all ready to be post-Covid. But we’re not. We’re still peri-Covid.” (08:17—09:03)
  • “This peri-Covid time that we’re in in the 18th month of pregnancy, the pressure is still there. And it might even be worse because we feel like we’re close to the end, and yet there are dentists who are still looking for associates. Most dentists right now are looking for team members. That's the biggest stress right now across the country, how do you find a good team member right now. It’s that scarcity mentality right now. It’s, you don't have to be in scarcity mentality, but how do you realize that you're in scarcity mentality, how do you manage it, and how do you move on with hope and abundance mentality versus scarcity mentality. And that's a lot of the conversations we’re having lately.” (11:01—11:56)
  • “There's a reason that we decide how we want energy and information to flow through the office. As I say, how energy and information flows through the office optimally with intention. We've decided how that looks for us so that when there's a little glitch, we still know what optimal looks like. That's predictability, but it takes work. And the progress, for me, it’s every day, what is the small little shift, the tiniest thing that you can do so that you don't do exactly what you did yesterday. What's the teeniest, tiniest, shift? Because that's progress.” (16:47—17:27)
  • “A lot of practices, I'm guessing it’s the majority, meaning over 50%, if they look at their checkbook, pre-Covid, and they look at their checkbook now, it’s probably more now. And so, they had this downtime where they had to think about it, and money came in from different ways. They had their AR, they were doing emergencies, they had PPP, they had EIDL. The accounts receivable kept coming in. And then, when we came back, there was this backlog. And so, in the end, they had more money. And so, resources are important as well. But I thought to myself, ‘This is your time to reinvent yourself, to think about what is important.’” (21:34—22:23)
  • “I think peri-Covid, the little hidden thing back here is, it’s your opportunity to say to your team and to your patients, ‘I took some time to reflect,’ or, ‘I did some learning then. And now, I really want to integrate it.’ And patients right now are — everybody knows it’s crazy, so you can say to them, ‘We’re shifting this a little bit. This is the way we’re seeing new patients now. This is the way my schedule is. I learned a little bit about airway so, yes, I've never talked about it before, but I am right now,’ or nutrition, or wellness, or occlusion. It is your opportunity to — you have an excuse right now to say, ‘I am looking at things differently and I want to integrate it.” (22:45—23:38)
  • “Patients are used to being rescheduled here and there, so you can change your schedule a little bit and make it more optimal for you. And I think that's the gift of this time. If you look at it that way and if you do something intentional, and there are people out there who are like, ‘Are you kidding me? I'm still triple booked. I didn't have a hygienist come in. I'm still missing an assistant.’ I hear you, and I'm with you. And we can have excuses all day long, or we can say, ‘I know all that's going on, but I still want to make this shift. I want to integrate airway more. I want to have my exams be a little more focused. I want my treatment planning to be more predictable. I want my assistant to be more in the co-discovery process with me.’ It’s endless.” (23:44—24:34)
  • “The other gift right now is, you have no choice but to talk about health. And early in Covid, it was literally, ‘How are you eating? Are you taking your vitamins? Are you saline [flushing] your nose? How is your health?’ Well, this has been an excuse for everybody I work with to say, ‘You know what? We do have a different view of health.’ And when dentistry got shut down, I was so concerned because we consider ourselves so vital to health, including airway, and nutrition, and disease, and infection. And so, my goal is to help you move toward optimal health in a way that's appropriate for you, and maybe you're looking at that a little bit differently right now. And most people are going to say yes, and this is your excuse to have the conversation that you used to find your way into or used to have to force a little bit. Now, you're like, ‘We’re all talking about health. This is what I do for a living. And, by the way, I know that you have discretionary income because I live down the street from you and I see you're redoing your whole damn house.’” (26:34—27:46)
  • “When we talk to our patients who think that they could never chew again, or they think they could never be out of pain, they think the headaches will never go away, they think they're never going to sleep well again, all of the things, sometimes what we do is we just offer them hope. We’re in it with them. And that is the beginning of small change. And, for me, that's what I hope we do for dentists, but they believe it just like we want our patients to believe it. Just a little sense of hope gives you energy and gets you out of scarcity mentality and into a little bit of abundance mentality. But it does take some intentional effort.” (40:23—41:10)


  • Dr. Kwiecien’s background. (03:16—07:01)
  • What does peri-Covid mean? (07:32—09:03)
  • Learn, adapt, and survive. (09:58—11:56)
  • Focus on what you can control and be intentional. (13:01—14:57)
  • Practice predictability, progress, and purpose. (16:06—19:57)
  • The gifts of peri-Covid. (20:43—28:01)
  • Be able to shift. (29:13—31:10)
  • Questions for young dentists. (31:40—39:28)
  • Last thoughts about peri-Covid. (40:15—42:06)
  • Dr. Kwiecien’s contact information. (42:27—44:05)

Reach Out to Dr. Kwiecien:

Dr. Kwiecien’s Instagram: @ksquared_facilitation https://www.instagram.com/ksquared_facilitation/?hl=en

Dr. Kwiecien’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kevinkwiecien

K² Facilitation Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KsquaredFacilitation

K² Facilitation website: https://ksquaredfacilitation.com/  

Good Reads:

Books by Stephen R. Covey: https://www.amazon.com/influence-effective-personal-workbook-collection/dp/9123675594

Dr. Kevin Kwiecien Bio:

Dr. Kwiecien holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration and has more than 17 years of private practice experience, with eight years in academia.

Most recently, Dr. Kwiecien served as assistant professor of restorative dentistry at Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry and director of the university’s faculty dental practice, director of patient admissions, and director of the urgent care clinic, as well as course director of preclinical fixed prosthodontics and co-course director of advanced restorative concepts for third and fourth-year students.

Dr. Kwiecien’s appreciation for and dedication to high-level continuing education began with Dr. Frank Spear more than 13 years ago. He has completed the curriculum at The Pankey Institute, has belonged for several years to a Tucker Gold Study Club, and many additional accomplishments, including a fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry. He has been a member of the Spear visiting faculty since its inception.

Dr. Kwiecien is a past president of the Oregon Academy of General Dentistry. He also maintains memberships in the American Dental Association, Academy of Operative Dentistry, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, American Equilibration Society, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. 


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