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St. Patrick's Day Could Be Dentists' Pot of Gold

"Yes, dentists are very busy the day after we celebrate St. Patrick."
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Yes, it may seem like an extreme stereotype to assume that people get drunk on St. Patrick's Day, to the point that they'd be in bar fights and knock each other's teeth out, causing them to have to go to the dentist the next day.

But it's true. Oh yes, it's true.

According to data provided to CNBC by Sikka Software, emergency visits to the dentist skyrocket by 64 percent across the country. This is based on the average of dental visits on March 18 versus a full one-month average (or the first business day if it falls on a weekend). And no, it's not about which states have the most residents of Irish descent. The most affected states aren't correlated by ancestry, suggesting that the broader population is all-out getting into trouble.

Sikka Software provides applications and tools for over 10,000 dental practices across the country. As a result, it knows exactly when, where, and why Americans visit the dentist. The company's data suggest that there's truth behind the stereotype. And it means that dentists will be extremely busy on Wednesday, raking in the dough.

To see how widespread this problem is, every single state but one saw an increase. Vermont dentists can rest easy this week, knowing their residents are mostly well-behaved. Contrast that with the states that take it to the extreme. Delaware, Mississippi, Maryland and Nebraska all see a jump over 150 percent. Utah, Texas, Montana and the District of Columbia are all over 100 percent, too—meaning that emergency dental visits more than double on March 18 versus a regular day.

Dr. Page Barden, a dentist in Cumming, Georgia, agrees with the sentiment. "Yes, dentists are very busy the day after we celebrate St. Patrick." He references patients who "can become clumsy and fall down, doing a face plant in the sidewalk," and others who become so drunk that it "results in them biting someone they have offended in the fist with their teeth."

It's not the Irish

The group of leading states don't have any obvious reason tying them together. They aren't specifically red states or blue states. Maybe they can form their own new group—the green states. Delaware, the home of Joe Biden, is only 11.4 percent Irish—suggesting that the increase in emergencies doesn't discriminate by ancestry, truly dispersed throughout the state. The First State also has a violent crime rate 41 percent higher than the national average. Some people might guess it's because Delaware is so dense—but it's only ranked as the sixth most crowded state.

Contrast that with Vermont, one of the most Irish states in the country, at 17 percent Irish. Yet it's population behaves better on March 17 than everybody else.

The top states aren't necessarily Roman Catholic: Mississippi, second in our rankings, is the nation's least Catholic (and most Protestant state).

To be clear, the problem is just for men—not women. While men see a 64 percent increase in visits, women actually have fewer emergency visits that day—the national average drops 6 percent. But strangely enough, a few states still see a significant increase in women losing their cool, led by the Lone Star State. Or more likely the Lone-Gap-in-Your-Teeth State. These are the five states with the biggest increase in women needing emergency dental help the next day:

Increase in women with dental emergencies on day after St. Patrick's:

  • 39% Texas
  • 32% Rhode Island
  • 22% Nebraska
  • 21% Vermont
  • 18% Maryland

Sikka's data show that March 18 is always one of the top 10 busiest days of the year, and the spike tends to last two to three days. Company founder Vijay Sikka says there is "absolutely" money to be made on this trend, and suggests a smart business practice for this week. "We can see dentists offering a St. Patrick's Day emergency appointments special."