One of the great disappointments that I have experienced in my field is the great unwillingness of my fellow professionals to give back some part of themselves to their community. Another sadness I have experienced is in the shrinking interest in dentistry as a profession for the next generation. I have practiced long enough to see Chicago lose two very prestigious schools, and nationwide the closure of fifteen schools. It is for this reason (and for the purely selfish reason of enjoying children’s company) that we constructed a two-hour course on how to become a dentist. Children in groups of 25 or less are invited to come for a nominal fee…
how to drill teeth
how to make different fillings
how to make appointments
how to help the laboratory personnel
how to take x-rays
how to examine mouths with the use of a camera
and how to politely interact with distressed people!
We manage to slip in a heavy dose of proper eating and hygiene instructions, but find consistently that we receive far more than we give. The children’s amazement and wonder is genuine, and their observations and suggestions have led to many changes that we’ve made in our own delivery system. A nominal fee is charged tot he school to offset the costs of provided materials. We often ask teachers via permission slips to secure parents permission to photograph children during the filed trip to use here on the website. And of course notes or letters written to express what aspect of the program they enjoyed the most are greatly appreciated. I am always inspired by the number of future dentists that have the potential for naming me as a small inspiration.
We have also offered adult field trips for patients who are curious about dental procedures or who suffer from dental phobia and need to have contact with dental related objects in the process of desensitization. These field trips were created and tailored with the assistance of a psychiatrist and psychotherapists in an effort to not only fill the potential for patient education but to comfort individuals who were not able to approach their own teachers. The adult program is available by appointment and is often offered as a late night engagement. There is a fee to cover costs for both adult and child venues.