Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dentistry from the Heart

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of participating in an event called Dentistry from the Heart.  (DFTH has its own website here in case you want to check it out.)

At our office, the day was set up so that anyone could come and choose one of three dental services to have done completely free of charge:  either one filling, one extraction, or a cleaning.  We had three dentists, three hygienists, and our usual staff, totaling about 13 people.  Even including a hefty number of precious, selfless volunteers who came to help us, we couldn't imagine that we'd be able to see more than 75 patients that day, so we advertised that it would be first come, first served and that we'd only guarantee to see 75 people in total. 

We had said that we'd start at 8:30 am, but we ended up starting at 7:30 instead.  By 8:20 we had reached our quota of 75 patients signed in and waiting for treatment.  Wow.  And that was even on a day that it rained cats and dogs!

The entire day was a bit of a blur for me--I had glimpses of sweet volunteers working hard at not-so-fun jobs, glimpses of our staff working together beautifully, and glimpses of patients talking with each other to pass the time, but mostly I just kept my head down and did some dentistry!

We ended up doing better than we expected.  We saw 85 patients and made so many people smile!

It was a truly special day, one of those days that affirms your career choice and makes you feel like you're really doing something good.  My favorite story of the day:

Two of our patients were talking to each other in the waiting room.
Patient 1:  This waiting room is really pretty.
Patient 2:  Yeah, everything about this day has been really good.
Patient 1:  Isn't it nice to get to feel like everybody else...even if it's just for one day?
Patient 2:  It really is.

(If that doesn't move you, you may need to get one of those heart monitors that they use in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" to check yourself.)