National Dentist Day is March 6, and even though most dentists will not be in office this Sunday to celebrate, there are many other ways to thank them for their dedicated work.
What’s the Big Deal About Dentists?
“Why should I thank my dentist? I pay him/her enough already!”
Believe it or not, dentistry is not all rainbows and roses. Dentists make more money when you come in needing serious work, but they actually encourage you to keep your teeth healthy and simply come in for cleanings and checkups. Most people don’t push so hard for results that might actually lose them money in the long run. Your dentist doesn’t tell you to floss so that he will feel good about himself. He says it so that you can prevent decay and gum disease, and yet most people go home and ignore the dentist’s advice. Many dentists even volunteer at local clinics in their free time, or they might open their office a few days out of every year to those who normally can’t afford dental work.
Many dentists are able to establish long-term relationships with some great patients, but often people come into the dental office simply to fix a dental problem that has gotten too severe to simply tolerate anymore. This can make for some grumpy patients! Specialists often get the brunt of this, because they’re almost a “last resort” if the general dentist doesn’t feel comfortable handling the procedure.
The American Student Dental Association blog explains this:
I think any specialty will have potential to make significantly more money than general, but you have the added stress and responsibility of being the last resort. You also usually don’t get to establish long term relationships with your patients, and you have to do a lot of schmoozing with your referral sources, usually general dentists.
This is in addition to several more years of education beyond dental school. It’s not all about the money, friends. No dentist is perfect - certainly there are some who went into dentistry simply for the financial benefits. But dentists play an important part in our health and well-being, so we might as well take a day to thank them.
What Can I Do?
Everyone knows what to do on Christmas, Thanksgiving, Independence Day and other holidays. What on earth am I supposed to do on National Dentist Day? It doesn’t need to be a huge celebration, but here are a few ideas for recognizing the important service they do:
- Get a dental checkup – Maybe it’s time to get back in the office to make sure your teeth are healthy and your habits are on the right track.
- Send your dentist a thank-you card – Let your dentist know that you appreciate the work they put into making sure you’re healthy
- Commit to better habits – There’s no better time to renew your resolve to start brushing/flossing/swishing mouthwash regularly. Make a plan and stick with it!
- Raise awareness - Whether you teach your children a new song about brushing their teeth or you tell your friends why you’re going to the dentist, you can do your part to help people realize the importance of dental hygiene.
- Smile – Don’t forget to show off that beautiful smile that your dentist had a part in maintaining!