When asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” many respond with answers such as astronaut, President, or princess. Since age four, Dr. Sarah Palmer knew she wanted to be a dentist. As a child, the dentist terrified her, and she believed she had the ability to make it better for people.
“I work very hard on a daily basis to ease patients fears and anxieties. I know that the dentist is no one’s favorite place to be, so my staff and I go out of our way to make it the best possible experience,” she says.
Dr. Palmer, a 2017 Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 honoree says that dentistry is a profession that has fulfilled her from the beginning.
“It is absolutely what I was born to do. I love the relationships I have formed with my patients. I look forward to seeing them and helping them to obtain and maintain their oral health. It is so rewarding to give someone his or her smile back and watch confidence instantly improve.”
The University of Detroit Mercy graduate has been leading her practice, Sarah Palmer DDS, in Grandville, Michigan for over five years. Since very early on in her career, she has enjoyed giving back to her profession.
Giving back takes priority
“I have been on an advisory board for the dental hygiene and assisting programs at the local community college. I really enjoy helping to ensure the young graduating professionals are equipped to handle the demands of the current workforce.
I have been volunteering at a community center that has a dental clinic for low-income patients. I also love supporting my local community and schools, from doing kindergarten dental presentations to financially supporting the schools and sports programs. It is awesome to be able to help out!”
In 2015, Dr. Palmer started “Veterans’ Dental Day” out of her office to offer free care to uninsured veterans.
“There is such a large need for dental care among the veterans of this country and I felt compelled to help. I feel so thankful to all of the members of our armed forces for all that they do for this country, and I feel as though taking care of their basic dental needs is a great way for me to show my appreciation,” she says.
Veterans’ Dental Day helps more and more patients each year. In 2017, it helped 20 veterans by providing almost $8,000 in free dental care. This past Christmas, Veterans’ Dental Day donated $2,000 that went toward gifts for children of veterans who needed a little extra help.
“It has been extremely rewarding working with the Vets. They are all so appreciative of the help that we are able to give them. Just seeing them smile makes my day. I know it is only a drop in the bucket of what needs to be done, so I hope that I can inspire others to give a little bit of their time and talents to help someone less fortunate,” she shares.
Dr. Palmer shares the inspiration behind her humanitarian efforts.
“I feel that I have been given this unique talent and that I need to share it with as many people as possible. I am so fortunate in my life and my profession that I think that giving back is the best way to show my gratitude.”
She continues, “When you have a family and a busy practice, time management is always a struggle. I really believe that volunteering is always time well spent, whether at my children’s school, in a free clinic or at my own office. I have never once had regret about donating my time and talents to others in need.”