National Dentist Appreciation Day

31 August 2009

There are two professions that I feel get a bad rap in our society: dentists and lawyers. Since this is not a law blog, but one concerned with matters of dentistry, I will of course be lauding one of the great unsung heroes of our society: the dentist.

First off, just imagine going to work every day and having to stare into other people’s mouths? I’ve often thought of this self-consciously while sitting in the dentist’s chair. Obviously some people’s mouths are going to be a prettier sight than others, but REALLY think about it…

See what I mean? To the dentist this is nothing but another pleasant day at the office, but there has to be a breaking-in period, right? I won’t even get into the bad breath angle of this thing…yikes…trying to keep everything in good taste here, but you get the idea.

The truly unfair element (that I’m sure every dentist is forced to confront at some time in their careers) is the fact that many of their patients often unfortunately feel that they are being somehow forced to go to the dentist against their will, instead of realizing how fortunate they are to be able to have the privilege to be treated by a dentist in the first place. After all, in many parts of the world, people don’t have the services of dentists at their disposal at all.

As I see it, the expression “don’t shoot the messenger,” could not apply more aptly to any other profession more than dentistry. After all, most of the time, dental problems, as opposed to other sorts of health issues, are first discovered by the dentist or dental hygienist themselves as opposed to the patient. Most of us are lucky enough to be able to find out that we might have cavities before they turn into tooth-aches, right? Instead of being happy that the cavity was discovered before it became painful, or that we need something like a root canal, we inadvertently blame the experience of “going to the dentist” as having somehow created the problem. Doesn’t seem quite fair to me…

So, I say that we need to have a National Dentist Appreciation Day. Perhaps it should be in December when everyone is gobbling up those Christmas cookies. Or around Halloween, perhaps? Regardless if National Dentist Appreciation Day ever happens or not, next time you go to the dentist, give him or her a smile, and remember that keeping your smile bright is what dentists are really all about.

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