Hallmark has a greeting card for every special occasion, right? Well, almost. National Dentist’s Day may not be a top card-giving event, but it definitely deserves attention. It’s a day dedicated to showing your dental staff how much you appreciate them, and to celebrating the practice you’ve been able to build.
“It’s important to celebrate the day,” Charlie Cage, DDS, MS, a general dentist with the U.S. Navy, wrote during an email interview. “It doesn’t have to be an outrageously elaborate event, but it must be celebrated.”
Unless you’re as good at party planning as you are at dentistry, though, figuring out the best ways to commemorate the day can be tough. We talked to several dentists who shared how they mark the occasion. We’ve shared their ideas here.
When Is National Dentist’s Day?
National Dentist’s Day has been celebrated on March 6 since 1790. That’s the day American dentist John Greenwood is credited with inventing the first dental foot engine, a device that powered the dental drill. Greenwood also served as George Washington’s dentist, crafting two of the first president’s denture sets.
Today, March 6 is a day dedicated to recognizing and acknowledging the continuing advancement of dental technology.
3 Reasons Dentists Should Celebrate National Dentist’s Day
It’s true — patients have largely claimed National Dentist’s Day as an occasion to thank you and your staff for all that you do. They take the time to let you know how much they appreciate the preventive care you provide — not to mention all the relief from potentially excruciating mouth pain.
But this isn’t only a day for your patients to celebrate you. As dentists, you can reclaim the day to show how much you value your staff and patients, as well as the practice they’ve helped you build. Consider these three reasons to make National Dentist’s Day an annual event in your office.
Honor your team: If your name is on the sign outside the door, it’s clear you’re the office lead. But you don’t run your practice alone. Take the day to focus on your hygienists, receptionists, and the orthodontists and endodontists to whom you refer your patients. They’re an integral part of your business, so let them know their worth.
Appreciate yourself: Don’t forget about yourself. It took a great deal of time, effort, and hard work to graduate from dental school. Plus, building a practice from the ground up presents its own challenges. Chances are you’re too busy during the rest of the year to think about all you’ve accomplished. National Dentist’s Day is a good day to acknowledge that you’re proud of yourself.
Expand your business: Maybe you never thought of a celebration as a great business initiative. It most certainly can be — especially when the best evidence of your success is a bright, brilliant smile.
How to Honor Your Team on National Dentist’s Day
Taking the time to honor your staff can be one of the most fun and fulfilling parts of National Dentist’s Day.
“It’s important for the team to mingle and get to know each other at an elevated level,” Cage said. “This will strengthen relationships or bring into understanding the cause of a dysfunctional work relationship.”
Our experts and the internet are filled with creative ideas. Here are a few of the most unique ways to make everyone feel valued.
Plan a theme party: In an email interview, general dentist and founder of San Antonio’s Ingram Hills Dentistry Michele Bishop, DDS, suggested taking the office party to the next level with a theme. Her office decorates with tooth fairies or smiles and serves themed food and beverages.
Hand out trophies: Make them serious or make them humorous. Whatever you do, though, make them specific. Give your staff trophies they can proudly display that acknowledge their specific strengths.
Create personalized swag: Have water bottles, mouse pads, or T-shirts made up with your practice logo. Personalize them by including your staff’s initials.
Arrange food trucks: Take the celebration lunch to the next level by inviting several local food trucks to provide lunch or an after-hours dinner for your staff. Cover the cost of the event so your staff can enjoy the variety without worrying about their wallets.
Say thank you: Don’t just say the words. Give a handwritten note to each staff member specifically detailing the value they bring to your practice.
How to Honor Yourself on National Dentist’s Day
Don’t forget yourself, though. After all, you’re the team leader. Here are some great ideas from experts throughout the internet.
Write yourself a letter: It doesn’t need to be long, and you don’t need to share it. But put down in words everything that you’ve accomplished since beginning dental school. What were your challenges, and how did you overcome them? Celebrate your victories and how far you’ve come.
Set goals: If opening your practice was a longtime goal, set some new ones. Put together a list of things you want to accomplish over the next 5–10 years. Include personal and professional milestones — new aspirations will keep you motivated.
Create your playlist: Music sets a great tone for celebration. Put together a playlist of your favorite songs and play them in the office throughout the day. It will create an upbeat atmosphere for your staff and patients. Plus, you’ll simply enjoy listening to your song selections while you work.
Plan for a new experience: Is there a big trip you’ve wanted to take since before you opened your practice? Or have you wanted to go snowmobiling or swimming with dolphins? Take the opportunity to schedule it and put a deposit down.
Pick up an old hobby: Think back to how you spent your time before your practice got busy. Spend some time on March 6 recapturing that enjoyment. Watch a scary movie, draw a sketch, or browse through a comic bookstore. Reward yourself with a little forgotten enjoyment.
How to Use National Dentist’s Day to Grow Your Dental Practice
Marking National Dentist’s Day goes beyond just celebrating your practice, said Greg Stanley, founder of Whitehall Management, a dental practice management firm based in Scottsdale. It’s also an opportunity for you to expand your practice.
“National Dentist’s Day can be used as an outreach to create a brand image for existing patients and their non-patient friends and family members,” Stanley explained during an email interview. “The community is encouraged to be a part of a practice that gives back, donating time and money for their enjoyment or for the improvement of the community.”
He suggested encouraging patient and community involvement in these ways:
Plan a giveaway: Celebrate your social media followers -- and grow your reach -- by offering a chance to win branded swag (think: tote bag, electric toothbrush). Followers who comment on your #NationalDentistsDay post can be entered to win. Just be sure to feature your happy winner!
Donate your services: Provide free dental services to underserved individuals in the community, such as those in homeless shelters.
Feed the community: Hold a community-wide barbeque. Mingle with your existing patients and introduce yourself to potential patients you don’t already know.
Rent a venue: Whether it’s a theater, pool, or other gathering location, host an event that can be enjoyed by the community. Create a photo booth with lots of props where people can take selfies together, post on social media, and tag your page.
Sponsor a charitable drive: Organize a food or clothing drive in which your patients and other community members can participate.
“Patients acquired through this [community outreach] process will come in more trusting of and confident in the practice,” Stanley said. “They are likely to buy dentistry like a direct patient referral, rather than a skeptical marketing patient.”
Celebrating National Dentist’s Day in any — or all — of these ways will not only be fun but also make your practice stronger overall, Cage said.
“With a stronger relationship and level of trust with the team, your dental practice will grow. The team is more likely to help each other and perform roles outside of the normal scope because it’s no longer just doing a job but helping a friend,” she said. “They also understand that they get to reap the benefits as well when their practice is successful. The more the practice grows, the more they themselves will succeed.”