Light of (Dr.) Day: A unique perspective on patient relationships

A deal’s a deal. Even if it’s fulfillment requires an Olympian effort.

At least according to Scott R. Day, DDS.

“One of my young patients agreed to cooperate better if I promised to do a headstand for him when we were done,” explained the dentist whose practice is located in the lowlands of New York’s Adirondack region, along the banks of the Oswegatchie River.

“No, there is no trampoline or trapeze in our office, so don’t get too excited,” he joked with thedailyfloss.com.

At Gouverneur Dental Associates, P.C. and in the world at large, Dr. Day’s efforts to connect with humor and sincerity make him invaluable. Knowledge peppered with wit can hearthfultoothbe found at the practice’s blog The Heartful Toothman and at the practice’s  Facebook page

Recently, Dr. Day and his team became participants in the Reach Out and Read program, in which thousands of doctors and nurses promote early literacy and school readiness to young children and their families in all 50 states.

“This is a program to provide free books to young readers who are disadvantaged or unable to get access to books,” said Dr. Day.

Each year, medical providers at the nearly 5,000 Reach Out and Read program sites

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Reach Out and Read was awarded the Library of Congress 2013 David M. Rubenstein Prize.

nationwide distribute 6.5 million books to children and invaluable literacy advice to parents. More information about this program can be found at: http://www.reachoutandread.org

 

On the clinical side, Dr. Day invites innovation on small and large scales for his patients every day, from switching their brand of fluoride varnish (“Our young patients find that the taste of Iris is superior to the old brand we had used before.”) to using custom-made appliances that help correct occlusal imbalances and other dental conditions when a patient is young (“This can save years in braces when they are in their teenage years and thousands of dollars for their parents.”)

“I enjoy learning about dental orthopedics and practice growth modulation. …Usually these children only require months of orthodontic treatment instead of years, which is average for many teenager,” added Dr. Day.

Offering oral health care for nearly 30 years, Dr. Day finds effective ways to support young patients through organized dentistry as well. One outlet: As the Chairman of the National Children’s Dental Health Month Committee for the 5th District Dental Society Board of Gouvernors for almost 20 of those years.

“I find it most fulfilling knowing that thousands of kids at least get exposure to dental information.  If one assumes that only half of the kids actually see a dentist in a given year, it is comforting to know that the other half at least get to take home a new toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss as well as a packet of information about dental health,” said Dr. Day.

“It is our Dental Society’s goal to get either a dentist or a representative of a dental office into every classroom in our district.  The month of February brings some of the most brutal weather in our area, but that does not stop the intrepid dentists or their team members from visiting the classrooms.”

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Each February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and as Committee Chairman for his District, Dr. Day helps organize efforts to expose thousands of kids to dental information. 

Caring for patients is Dr. Day’s primary passion, and he’s willing to explore the world to do so, in one instance, through a three-week missionary visit to Southern Peru, where he traveled to various health posts and small towns and provided free dental care for both adults and children.  

 

“Many had never seen a dentist in their entire life as there were none in the area.  There was a local Peruvian dentist in the town of Mollendo who was invaluable to set up my visits in these small towns.  On a few occasions he worked side by side with me and we saw hundreds of patients,” said Dr. Day of his 2003 junket.

“I still reminisce about the mothers of the children who hugged me and were in tears of joy over  care we provided.  They were able to save their children’s smiles and were so grateful.  It was an experience and adventure to provide care in many places that had no running water, so we learned to improvise in each place that we set up.”

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Dr. Scott Day, shown with Peruvian volunteers,  during a three-week missionary trip on which he provided free dental care. “I still reminisce about the mother’s of the children who hugged me and were in tears of joy over care we provided.” 

It’s hard to imagine he has time for hobbies, but to remain so infused with fun, Dr. Day recharges with hobbies. Whether active — fishing, woodworking, gardening, hiking — or relaxed — winemaking, playing cards and reading — Dr. Day incorporates his zest for life into every area of life.

 

Visit him in person (and request a handstand) at: http://www.gouverneurdental.com/

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