It’s almost the end of 2021 and a new year will soon begin. Looking back this past year, there’s so much that has happened. Specifically, in my life, I am very grateful for so much.
Dentistry is an interesting career – there are days where you have everything all set, everything seems to be smooth-sailing, and there are other days where Murphy’s law seems to be following you like a shadow chasing your own silhouette. In any event, there is never a dull moment in this profession.
During the holidays, I want to give thanks to those who I am truly and sincerely happy to have in my life.
Family/friends/loved ones: I would not be the person that I am today without my family and friends. The hugs, smiles, support, encouraging words and love that they have given me. They have been with me and helped me grow as a person. They taught me about empathy, compassion, patience, understanding, and love.
Work family: We spend over seven hours a day with these team family members, sometimes more often than our loved ones. They know your strengths and weaknesses and enhance our strengths, while supporting us on our opportunities. My work family are filled with loyal, kind, compassionate, and patient individuals. Without their support, I cannot do my job of caring for our patients each day. They bring me joy, laughter and provide levity throughout the day. Having a team like this makes my day better.
Mentors: Along the journey, I am blessed to meet so many new colleagues, and those that take the time to invest in me, help me grow, and succeed. Mentors are there to provide that positive, encouraging support. They know what it’s like to be in your shoes. I have had many mentors provide me advice/guidance to enrich my life to care for patients.
Patients: I love taking care of patients, just like any of us in the dental field. We are there to care for them. They have provided trust and shown us their vulnerabilities. Take the time to truly listen to them and their concerns – afterwards, make sure to find a solution to their concern – they want to feel heard.
I volunteer once a month in a dental clinic that provide no-cost dental care to those that may not be able to afford it. It warms my heart to give back to the community. It harkens to the time and effort that we spent in dental school providing our talent and hard work to those less fortunate than us. I chose dentistry to make a difference and to create life-changing smiles, one patient at a time.
I had an instance recently where one patient said she doesn’t smile because of the way her teeth looked. I used a soflex disc to refine the distal and mesial incisal edges to provide a softer look for the patient. When I provided her a mirror, she looked at her teeth and started to cry tears of joy. She told me, “It’s just in time for the holidays, now I can take pictures with my smile!” I am sure you all know this feeling. This is why we chose dentistry- to make a difference and an impact in someone’s life.
I am truly blessed and grateful to be a dentist. Yes, there are some days that are tough, but in the end, I keep on thinking of those positive days, when we are making patients smile, making them healthier and happier. Keep doing what you are doing. Love it to the point where you don’t roll out of bed, but hop out of bed instead, knowing this is what you have worked hard to achieve. Not everyone can be a dentist and can give the gift of creating smiles.
The main gift of all: Time. We are given 24 hours in a day, 525,600 minutes in a year, and so on. We are given the choice of what to do with this time. I wake up thanking the Heavens that I have a brand-new day breathing, a chance to make someone’s day, smile, and make someone feel happier than before I met them.
Make sure you catch up and check in on your loved ones and those that mean so much to you. Life is short, we’re given a short amount of time and the choice of what to do with it. How will you spend your gift of time?
I thank you all for being dentists out there. It’s not an easy career, but an email from another dentist who told me that there are more good days than bad. I think of that message and it keeps me going. Thank you, Doctor. Without dentists, there fewer smiles, fewer healthy mouths, and fewer life-changing experiences. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am thankful for you.
Dr. Jessica Nguyen is graduate from the University of Minnesota-School of Dentistry. Dr. Nguyen is as an associate general dentist in Forest Lake, Minnesota. She enjoys spending time with her family, singing, trying new foods with her friends, and playing sports. Dr. Nguyen connects with others by learning from their stories because she believes each person has a life lesson that one can learn from. She is passionate about volunteering and helping others by giving advice to pre-dental students, dental students, and sharing positive, uplifting, inspirational stories to guide others to become successful, achieve their dreams, and live life to the fullest. Any questions/comments and please reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.