5 Ways to Give Back in Dentistry

I have previously blogged about volunteering in dentistry and it is something I am asked about all the time... so I thought I would update what I think are great ways that dentists and DCPs can give back to the community. 

Donate or Fundraise

You might typically think of donations in terms of cash donations which might be one off or regular (for example once a month or year). This might be for a local charity such as a food bank that you care about, for other charities that support the population, local healthcare charities such as hospital charities, or to dental charities such as Dentaid The Dental Charity, the Oral Health Foundation, Dental Wellness Trust, Bridge to Aid and others. 

But don't forget, charities such as Dentaid, accept equipment donation from dental chairs, to instruments, to toothpastes and toothbrushes. You can also donate oral health products to local food or hygiene banks. You can also hold events to fundraise for a certain charity; from bake sales, to sponsored runs or marathons! There are also easy online ways to fundraise, for example, Easyfundraising.com or via Amazon giving. 

Volunteer in the UK

There are projects up and down the country with Dentaid the Dental Charity, where clinicians are able to give their time to volunteer on clinics helping the most vulnerable people access dental care, or as part of their Bright bites oral health promotion programme. 

You can also give your own time to find communities near to you improve their oral health - for example in the past I have visited Brownies groups to deliver oral health promotion. This might be at local schools, care homes, community events, soup kitchens, homeless centres or even secondary schools to talk about careers in dentistry. 

Overseas Trips

Having previously volunteered overseas in Tanzania I can tell you that the experience can really put things into perspective! Depending on where you choose to volunteer will influence what your experiences might be, but for me it really helped with my extraction technique, and also was super fulfilling to provide dental care for people who would not get any access to dentistry otherwise. 

Overseas trips to countries such as Uganda, Malawi and Cambodia are organised by Dentaid the Dental Charity

See Patients as part of your Practice

Do you have any patients who you know are in difficult situations? Or have been contacted by homeless organisations or other charities who look after vulnerable people? Or even nurseries or schools? Access to dental care is very difficult at the moment, and this is affected vulnerable people the most and the cost of living crisis is making life very challenging for a lot of people. Is there anything you can provide as part of your practice to help? Maybe taking on these people as patients, or seeing the odd patients probono? 

It could just be as simple as agreeing to see patients from a local care home, or offering to get involved with projects with the NHS to see certain patient groups - for example, some practices in areas are piloting being 'child-friendly' practices, or offering sessions to see people who experience homelessness. 

Teach and Support the Next Generation 

Can you assist the training or inspire the next generation of dentists and dental professionals? Can you accept work experience students, speak at local schools about careers, or deliver talks or placements for dental students? 

Newly qualified dentists or DCPs might also want mentoring through their first few years in their profession; could you support this, help with CVs, provide peer reviews or just someone to talk through about problems they encounter? 

Many dental schools have student societies who hold lectures and events and look for speakers to help inspire them about different aspects of dentistry - these can even be online! 

Do you have any other ways you can give back in dentistry? Leave them in the comments below.

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