Dental students are an interesting bunch. We fill a very specific niche in health care and have our own specific personalities to match. We get excited over the smallest things, such as creating the smoothest shoulder margin on our crown prep. We appreciate quality. I love getting suggestions from other dental students about dental tools or apparel that brings them joy because chances are, it will be high-quality.
This guide was compiled to be the ultimate navigation tool for dental students, providing ideas for gifts that allow for that “treat yourself” moment after the holidays and into the new year. Honestly, we all deserve to put ourselves first and give ourselves a little something after 2020. Use those holiday gift cards or cash on a new device that will just simply make your dental school experience better. You are worth it.
So, let’s get down to business. I surveyed my dental peers and created a comprehensive list of the best gifts to give yourself this year.
Apparel and accessories
- Fun/patterned loupes straps for dental professionals: Brightly colored loupes straps can make clinic a little more fun, and your faculty will finally be able to tell who is who under all that PPE. You can find straps that are soft and foamy, which will help decrease the tension headache when you’re wearing an N95 and Class 3 surgical mask during a bridge prep.
- Tie-dye tooth socks: Another great choice to rock in clinic or pre-clinic. These socks can be a great addition to your wardrobe. This would be a fun gift to give to your faculty, too. Can you imagine everyone wearing tie-dye socks?! You can find many different styles on the internet, but shopping local is my favorite choice.
- Dental stickers on Etsy: Put these on your loupes case, locker or Hydro Flask to spark more joy in your life.
- Dental enamel pins: No pun intended, enamel pins are an adorable way to personalize your scrubs in lab or clinic.
Gadgets and therapeutics
- Arnica flower anti-inflammatory cream: I tried an anti-inflammatory pain relief cream about three years ago at a local boutique. I could not believe how incredible it smelled. It’s like fresh gingersnap cookies mixed with incense. Arnica flower cream gives instant relief to any aching or strained muscles in your neck or back, and it carried me through long nights in pre-clinic while I was trying to refine my operative skills.
- Gratitude journal: Writing in a journal in the morning is a great way to practice gratitude and help start stressful days on the right foot. Practicing gratitude is proven to help lower stress and increase happiness, which will be helpful when you may or may not be stressing over starting your oral surgery rotation next week.
- Yoga wheel: Think of a foam roller on steroids — a yoga wheel is the equivalent of that image. Minimize neck and back occupational injuries by using the wheel to stretch every night and reverse the damage of sitting in a weird position trying to reach the distolingual portion of the mandibular second molar during an operative appointment.
- Hand and arm massager: Trigger point massagers are targeted to massage areas of tension in your hand, forearm, elbows and fingers. You can change out the gel-filled balls to customize your hand massage.
- French press coffee maker: Using a French press is a great morning ritual to incorporate into your routine. Focusing on a single task in the morning can help your mind wake up and feel more at ease.
- Peppermint essential oil roll-on: Peppermint essential oil has multiple aromatherapy uses such as relaxing muscle tension and tightness, relieving headaches and increasing cognitive activity. It’s “essentially” nature’s Icy-Hot, and it smells great, too.
~Savanna Fonkert, Minnesota ‘22