In It Together

A community sourced archive,
documenting COVID-19’s impact
on dentistry

Sponsored by Patterson Dental

Many in the dental community have been affected by COVID-19 and want to share their stories.

As a result, the ADA is launching the JADA+ COVID-19 Monograph—a digital collection of stories, reflections, and accounts from any perspective, in any format, including articles, essays, podcasts, videos, graphics, and photos—that is open to all contributors. Submit your COVID-19 story here.

Stories by Region

What I Loved About 2020 – Dr. Edward L. Perlow

I’ve always loved learning and 2020 has taught me a lot. I love the fact that my wife and I could transition from a large house to a one bed condo yet we don’t feel confined. I love that after 34 years of marriage, that when I wasn’t working (due to the Board of Health closing dental offices to typical ongoing care) and discouraged, nor mingling with friends or relatives, I enjoyed spending 24/7 with my wife. (I hope she feels the same!)


I loved that after 30 years of playing recreational basketball that when we had to stop due to Covid, I put the effort into losing 40 pounds so that when the time came, and we could play again, I could try to “dunk” something other than donuts. (Who am I kidding these 61-year-old knees couldn’t handle landing after a dunk no less propel me to that height!!) In substitution, I love that I was able to achieve doing 100 push-ups or more every day for 31 days straight to end this year. (Not shabby for a guy my age!!)

Pickle ball and tennis became a socially distant and acceptable substitute for my competitive nature and something that I really enjoyed getting to play with Merle, David, and Ashley.

I loved when my internist gave me my annual physical and told me “your blood pressure is 100/70 you’re resting pulse is 52 and you lost 40 pounds during a pandemic along with your cholesterol going down to 171. He finished our visit with “I’ve got nothing for you to do so take a hike!”

I love during 2020 that my son and his fiancée (now his wife), when frightened during March as the COVID numbers skyrocketed in Manhattan, asked if they could come and live with us. How often do you get to spend 5 to 6 months with your son and future daughter-in-law day and night as they work remotely, while my wife and I were on furlough (Yes, I put myself on furlough) and lived to tell about it, as well as love it!!

I love that during that time I discovered that I could master the art of being a short order gourmet chef. With limited ingredients I plated visually delectable meals that we all earnestly enjoyed. I love learning and creating new recipes on FaceTime with dear friends whose culinary skills and knowledge I admired. I loved getting to host an impromptu, socially distant, outdoor cocktail party for our two neighbors in New Hyde Park discovering that it was their 50th wedding anniversary. We were able to give them a special evening without being alone for such a monumental event.

I love 2021 now because if as everyone
else keeps saying “it’s got to be better”
I plan to be overwhelmed.


I loved realizing that I could coordinate caring for, supplying and aiding my 90+ year-old parents’ home life, hospitalizations, and transitioning to a new home health care aide during these challenging times. As of today, my parents and mother-in-law have been kept safe and COVID free and that is through the love of my wife, our children and our siblings.

I love that during 2020 I was able to transition from two very able staff members in my office to three while keeping all positive minded employees economically whole to their expectations for this year by navigating the furlough process, the Paycheck Protection Program loans, and the health and human services incentive assistance programs all the while establishing the safest possible COVID protocols for staff and patients in my office that were feasible. Throughout 2020 we were able to remain COVID negative for all our staff all while providing emergency, as well as essential continuing care to all of our typical and special needs patients.

I love the 2020 has taught me to “zoom” so that I can keep connected to my professional colleagues. I love that I learned how to “unmute“ at appropriate times, and how to “stop video” when something about my appearance or immediate needs shouldn’t be shared with the rest of the world. I love that I learned to virtually “raise my hand” and virtually “applaud” and was able to teach others how to do that so they too could be heard.

During 2020 I love that I have seen my special needs son Ross flourish within a lockdown of his group home. He became the mayor of activities amongst his housemates while only able to “see” us through FaceTime for over three months. He resisted having a “meltdown,” stayed healthy, and learned had how to help with household chores without prompting. I love being this proud of him. Though classified as “learning disabled,” he truly has been a “learning enabler” for all of us.

The last two months of 2020 did not disappoint either. I love that it included the wedding of my son David and his bride Ashley. We are all richer for it!! (For us quite a bit richer, given the wedding party was limited to only nine of us and without this pandemic and the popularity of our extended family and friends to gather together for special occasions it would’ve ballooned to at least 250). I love that it was an intimate affair that was in the comfort zone that Ashley desired. I love that she and David elected to purchase a home only a mile from our new condo and 10 minutes from Ross. This circling of the “family wagons” is the most comforting thing for a lifetime of mutual support!! Hopefully the wedding savings can be dispensed in the future IOU’s for child care if they are so blessed. I also love that Ashley, following Merle’s advice, earned her doctorate in health sciences. I love sharing the title of “Dr. Perlow” with someone I love so dearly.

So, all in all, all the good riddance everyone wishes regarding 2020 is overshadowed by my love for this past year. I love 2021 now because if as everyone else keeps saying “it’s got to be better” I plan to be overwhelmed. Happy New year to all. Stay safe. Stay happy. Stay healthy because we love you!!

With Love,


Dr. Edward L. Perlow
is in private practice in general dentistry in New Hyde Park, NY. His practice has an emphasis on comprehensive restorative care for typical and special needs patients. He serves as Section Chief for special needs patient care for Northwell Health systems and is currently Vice President of Special Care dentistry Association. He has completed the clinical medical bioethics certification program at Hofstra University Law School in 2014 and serves on the Citizens Board of AHRC of Nassau County. Dr. Perlow has served many years on the board of directors of the Nassau County Dental Society and has chaired the ethics counsel in the past. He has lectured extensively on Special Needs patient care and Ethics in health care and remains an active member of a bioethics journal club.

Stock photo credit: Dave & Les Jacobs/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Topics: Practitioners, Personal Essay, Region–Northeast

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