As dentists, we have earned the unique opportunity of improving the health and livelihood of others. Not everyone in other professions can say that. Using the knowledge and skills we learn in dental school, we provide the gift of oral health care each day, helping countless patients in the process.
In addition to the service you provide each day, you have many opportunities in your area to expand your patient reach and community support. Whether you hold initiatives that provide free dental services, educate others on oral health or give back to your area in other ways, taking advantage of these opportunities demonstrates your commitment, creates a positive community standing and unites your team around the same cause.
Lack of access to care for patients is still a prevalent issue in our society. Many still go without regular, essential oral health care because of economic problems. A report completed by the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging states that more than 130 million Americans currently do not have dental insurance. Carrying out initiatives that support increased access to care and provide dental education is more important than ever.
Take the initiative.
With free dental days and other charitable events, those in your community who cannot afford treatment can still receive the care they need. Each year, many Heartland Dental-supported offices hold free dental events, in which hundreds of patients are helped and thousands of dollars worth of dentistry are donated. Since Free Dentistry Day was created several years ago, thousands of patients have been helped and millions worth of dentistry has been provided.
Strengthen your team.
Dental teams function best working together toward common goals. Carrying out community initiatives is an excellent way to establish this team mindset. Planning these events from the ground up-setting dates, creating action plans, setting overall goals and following through with plans-will bring your team together. You also get the opportunity to exercise leadership in overseeing these events and delegating responsibility. The more your group plans together, the more tight-knit they will become.
Advance your community standing.
While extending the reach of your care, giving back also benefits your office’s community standing. Every person you help is likely to spread their great experience to others. Simply showing your generosity and dedication creates positive “word of mouth” for your office that spreads throughout your community. Most likely, several other dental offices in your area offer similar services. Taking the extra step to show your community values will help you stand out from the rest.
In addition to free dental events, there are other initiatives outside of dentistry as well. During the holidays, you can hold a food or toy drive to benefit the less fortunate. Your team could participate in other local charitable events such as runs, walks or fundraisers as a team. No matter the focus, initiating these events will positively affect your office. You, your team, your patients and your entire community will benefit.
Samson Liu, DDS, MAGD, Vice President of Clinical Affairs at Heartland Dental and full-time practicing dentist at mywildwooddentist.com in Wildwood, Missouri.
Since graduating dental school and the start of his career at Heartland Dental, Dr. Liu's practice has grown to a 12-chair office.