Blooming Fun Dentistry

Georgia Aquarium is one of Georgia’s sensational highlights – for locals and tourists alike.  Conceived of, and mostly financed by, Bernie Marcus (founder of Home Depot), it was the world’s largest aquarium when it opened in 2005.  The aquarium houses more than 100,000 animals, representing 500 species, including beluga whales, hammerhead and whale sharks, huge manta rays, penguins, Leafy Sea Dragon seahorses, and bottlenose dolphins, to name just a few of the most notable creatures.

Every time we visit the Aquarium, we discover new things to do that awe and inspire us with the wonders of the worlds within water.  On a recent visit we attended the Dolphin Show.  We were advised to arrive to the arena 30 minutes early, as soon as the doors opened, to ensure a good seat. I was eager for the show and impatient to have to wait for 30 minutes as the audience grew.  Suddenly a giant screen, behind the huge water tank, came alive as we were treated to a preview to entertain us until the show started.

While the information was obviously about dolphins, there was another deliberate message which embraced the mission of the Georgia Aquarium.

  • We are passionately dedicated to education.
  • We make learning fun, entertaining, dynamic.

Wow –  I thought – not just dedicated to education but PASSIONATELY dedicated! And how did they express that passion?  By making the learning FUN, ENTERTAINING, DYNAMIC!

This prompted me to think about our patient education in dentistry and consider HOW we educate.  Are we passionate about it?  And if so, how do we express that passion? In my experience, all too often our education comes across as dry, complex, static, and serious.  And, of course, much of our dental business is indeed serious. But I wonder how we could help make the learning more fun for our patients. For, as any educator knows, learning that is fun gets remembered.

The screen proceeded to pose questions for us to answer:

  • What do dolphins eat?
  • Which is the largest species of dolphin?
  • Is the skin of a dolphin rough or soft?

While we guessed at the answers, again I wondered about all the curious and really interesting facts about dentistry that would bring life and energy to our patient education.  What kind of cool and compelling questions would engage our patients much as I was engaged by fun facts about dolphins?  What interesting facts could you research that would make dentistry fun and entertaining for your patients?

  • What were George Washington’s teeth really made of?
  • Who were the first dentists?
  • Why are third molars called “wisdom” teeth?
  • Which animal continues to grow new teeth throughout its entire life?

Here is a fun team project you could explore at a team meeting.

Ask all of your team to research different aspects of dentistry, such as:

  • History of dentistry
  • Ancient dentistry
  • Early dental materials vs. modern dental materials
  • Animal teeth
  • The future of “growing” teeth

Like a garden of diverse flowers each blooming differently, each of your team members will come up with their own unique perspectives about the vast array of dental fun facts.

Let your imagination wander!  With Google at your side, there’s no limit to what you can discover about dentistry that is fun to explore. Let curiosity be your guide. At a subsequent team meeting you can share your lists, compile them into one (perhaps ongoing?) compendium of fun dental facts that the entire team can access. I’m sure you’ll be amazed at the interesting and fun facts your team discovers.

Just as the blooming of a flower is a process of unfurling petal after petal increasing the blossom’s beauty and vibrancy, compelling us to interact with it by sniffing its fragrance, stroking it’s softness and sharing with others – in much the same way we can enhance the seed of knowledge for our patient education by watering that seed with dynamic learning. Fun questions do this is a compelling manner that rouses patient curiosity, inter-action and answers.  Ultimately, this leads to a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for dentistry – and value for YOUR dentistry.

BLOOM  the potential of your patient education today!