Great Gifts for Dental Students

10 Great Ideas from Gear Bags to Dental Flicks

Studying dentistry
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Got a new dental student? Here are 10 great gift ideas, everything from laptop bags to arty posters, medical thrillers, and dentist flicks.

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A Laptop Bag & Gear

College student on laptop
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You may dream of getting your favorite dental student a retro, leather doctor's bag or some esoteric, but essential piece of equipment, but the truth is, equipment requirements vary from school to school. At some schools, certain items - including scrubs - are included in the tuition cost. At others, students have to buy their own. So try this idea instead: give your dentist-to-be a cool laptop bag (or a sports bag to tote spare scrubs, toiletries, and granola bars) and tuck in a gift card for the dental school's bookstore.

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Arty Dental & Medical Posters

"You Are Here". Courtesy Roll and Tumble Press, the eBay for arts and crafters, carries an ever-changing array of arty, one-of-a-kind gift items, including several with decided med student appeal. My current favorite item is a letterpress poster by Arkansas-based Roll and Tumble Press. This one (pictured, $25) depicts a human body with red and blue veins and arteries, and a "You are here" sign - the perfect mix of anatomy and heart. They're printed to order with a week turnaround time. Other wonderful ones include a WPA poster that admonishes you to "Keep Your Teeth Clean."

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Engraved Pens & Humble Markers

Photo courtesy of Stig Andersen, Stock.Xchng

Dentistry is a writing-heavy pursuit. If you'd like to give your future dentist a special writing implement, Tiffany, and other high-end companies carry lovely, engrave-able silver pens for $185-$325. Of course, some kids prefer having the cash for, you know, tuition and food. A box of generic pens and highlighters may lack Tiffany's cachet, but it costs considerably less and if those pens get lost, it won't be such a big deal. Add in a day planner and a few crisp $20s.

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Gift Card for a 24-Hour Diner

Person eating and working on laptop
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Gift certificates to restaurants and coffeehouses close to the dental school or clinic are thoughtful, sure-to-please gift options - especially if you find one that's open 24 hours. And you can't go wrong with a well-loaded Starbucks, VISA or American Express gift card.

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Clever Ways to Give Cash

Dr. Piggy, DDS. Photo by Jackie Burrell

Money may not be the most creative gift, but one size fits all and any hard-working, cash=poor student will think it's perfect. You can always write a check or hit the bank for crinkly green bills, but a little creativity will make the gift all the more memorable. Use an old-fashioned prescription bottle to hold a rolled up check, for example, or turn a dime-store piggy bank into a clever Dr. McSwine, DDS, with this paint-your-own piggy bank project.

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Dentist Bears & Stuffed Germs


Dental school is a high-stress slog, with little time for making friends. So head for Build-A-Bear to get your new dental student a cuddly teddy bear dentist - then tuck a few twenties into the paw of Dr. Bear, DDS. And of course, nothing says "We're so proud of you!" better than, er, a giant plush Halitosis germ, an Epstein-Barr virus or an adorable Streptococcus. (You can compare prices on those here.)

P.S. That's a petri dish full of stuffed common cold microbes in the photograph.

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Bacon Floss

Courtesy Accouterments

We all know how important it is to brush and floss our teeth. But even dentists must get sick of mint-flavored dental hygiene products, right? Voila: bacon-flavored floss. It comes in other flavors too, including coffee, waffle, and cupcake. And toothpaste as well. Every dentistry student needs to try it at least once, right?

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"Ghost Town" & Other Dental Flicks

Courtesy Paramount

Dental school is not known for its leisure time, but when your favorite dental student has frothy entertainment on a DVD, it doesn't matter if he or she falls asleep midway through. That's what the "back" button is for. Unfortunately, there's no sudsy, "Grey's Anatomy"-type series about dental school, but Hollywood has brought some very amusing dentists to the silver screen recently, including Ricky Gervais in "Ghost Town" (compare prices), the 2008 comedy about a surly dentist who sees ghosts everywhere, and Jennifer Aniston in the 2011 flick "Horrible Bosses" (compare prices). Aniston plays a sex-crazed dentist who doesn't let the word "no" interfere with her pursuit of hapless, dental hygienist Charlie Day.

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"Death of a Dentist" & Other Books

Grand Central Publishing

Clearly, dentists need to get some better publicists because when they take starring roles in novels, they always end up as either the much-despised murder victim or the much-despised suspect. Oh well, these tales are still fun, even if the DDS in question ends up as the centerpiece of a chalk outline: M.C. Beaton's "Death of a Dentist" (compare prices) and Agatha Christie's "One Two Buckle My Shoe" (compare prices). At least the dentist is the suspect in Joan Hess' "Tickled to Death" (compare prices).

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Pandemic & Other Board Games

A card from the Pandemic game.

Board games are the perfect pastime - and this intense, cooperative, adrenaline-fueled board game is tailor-made for science and medicine buffs. In Pandemic, players take on the role of CDC scientists racing to quell multiple plague breakouts, before a virulent plague wipes out the world. Prefer competitive colonizing instead? Settlers of Catan isn't just popular with average Joes, it's especially beloved by dental students - because it was created by Klaus Teuber, a German dental tech.