Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Free Day of Dentistry #7

Friday was the 7th Free Day of Dentistry, Gammichia style.

If you are new to the blog, I open up my office one day a year (around February, which is dental health month) to give away free dental care to anyone who is in need.
There were 12 volunteer dentists, working in shifts of 4 hours, in every one of my operatories.

We do fillings and extractions, and we do it on as many people as we can, on a first come, first served basis, from 7am to 4pm. It was an awesome day. Crazy, but awesome.

I was working on Thursday, and someone came into the office at 11:30am and asked where the line was starting. WHAT?!!!! Well, last year they got here late and were not able to be seen so now they got here early. Forty-five minutes later, another couple showed up. When I left the office at 4pm, there were 8 people in line!!! Are you kidding me? Wow. I knew it was going to be HUGE.

That morning I was on a local radio station telling people about it, but mostly the people that were here were people that have missed on other occasions. There was another dentist that did it the previous week, and he was sending his overflow to our office.

That morning, I left my house at 5:45am and I didn't stop until about 6pm. I swung by Dunkin' Donuts, and they filled up my car with doughnuts, coffee, and other goodies, and thanked me for doing such a good thing.

I got to the office and it was organized chaos. There were, now listen very carefully, one hundred and thirty people in the parking lot when I got there at a little after 6am. Incredible. The office was already hopping. I had a doughnut and got to work.

My job for the whole day was triage. I would see the patient, find out what teeth were bothering them, and take an X-ray. Then I would decide how we were going to treat them. Once I did that, I numbed them up. They waited to numb up in the reception area. We tried to have a log jam of patients waiting for the dentists as opposed to the dentists waiting on the patients.

One thing we found this year is that the teeth, in general, were worse than in previous years. More patients needed multiple procedures. We wanted to help people get out of pain, so when they came in with three things hurting them it was hard to pick one... so we did three things.

This means we were not going to see as many patients, but would do more procedures. We ended up seeing 115 patients, but performing much more dentistry than last year. It seems like we pulled less teeth this year. Doing fillings is much more time consuming, and you can see when you look at the numbers.

On Thursday, a local landscape nursery was overhauling my atriums and trying to make the place look presentable. One of the guys in line asked if he could help. I looked outside and one of the guys in line was planting some plants. Nice.

At 6:30am, a guy from my church brought the Men's Club grill and started firing up burgers and hot dogs. He had this big spread and cooked all day. I have a couple that I know that work for Campus Crusade for Christ and minister to the underserved. He used to be a DJ, so he brought all his stuff and played music all day. They had 12 kids from various universities with them that were on Spring Break; they all danced and served burgers all day. There was a fair amount of kids out there (under 5), and these college kids played with them all day.

I told you that all the food was donated and we had a pretty big spread in the back. But the best thing was the after party. One of my hygienists made gelatin shots and they were a big hit. We try to get better and better as the years go on. I guess what we are going to get better at next year is the AFTER PARTY.

Really, the day went off without a hitch. The afternoon doctors were a little slow to arrive, and everyone started to freak out, but everything settled down after they all arrived. I seated the last patient at 3:50pm, and he told me he got to our parking lot at 6:15am.

Think we were doing something good, or what? Twelve dentists and over 40 non-dentist volunteers. Five restaurants. Three dental companies. AWESOME!!!

Here is something that really warms my heart. There are over 4 dentist offices that did it this year. It is catching on. We have a gift. We have a talent. There is so much need. People are getting it.

Here are some photos of the day.

Some of the Gammichia Girls

My friend Eric, who worked hard to get the office looking good. He also provided all the orchids that we gave to the volunteers as gifts.

The parking lot was abuzz all day.

One of the many volunteers.

Yours truly, numbing up my 6,000th patient (or so it seemed).

Noah came with my wife and hung out all day. He threw out the trash. He went outside and made friends with some of the other little kids.

Another Noahism. On the way home, he said to my wife, "Man mom, with all those people at dad's office today, Dad sure is going to make a lot of money."

Have a great Wednesday,
john

4 comments:

Christiaan said...

Yeah, he will, but it's a different kind of "money", son!

Great stuff - don't worry - you can live off the AGD blog stipend.

Anonymous said...

Excellent work and effort, you are truly making a difference. I am sure many of those patients went home last night and gave their thanks that they met you.
KenJ

april said...

thank you for your generosity!

Hannah said...

I'm so glad it went well! What a great way to love on the people in your community.

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