Photo by {artist}/{collectionName} / Getty Images

Photo by {artist}/{collectionName} / Getty Images

Burnout in dentistry isn’t age related. It affects dentists with decades of experience, and increasingly, those who are new to the profession. In fact, the burnout rate in this industry is higher than most. So how can you avoid it? Consider four keys.

1.     Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Burnout

How do you know if you’re burned out? There are many signs and symptoms—and you don’t have to experience all of them to be affected.

  • Using food, drugs or alcohol to cope with your feelings
  • Being cynical or critical at work
  • Change in your sleep habits or appetite
  • Difficulty starting your workday
  • Feeling disillusioned, dissatisfied or unfulfilled
  • Irritability or impatience with staff members or patients
  • Lack of energy to be productive
  • Unexplained headaches, back pain or other physical pain

2.     Identify the Reasons

High risk and high stress come with practicing dentistry. Continuing education is required to become good at it and to stay current with trends and technology. And there are other stressors:

  • Achieving precision with restorations
  • Business and student loan payments
  • Staff management
  • Decreased reimbursement from insurance companies
  • Keeping up with dental technology
  • Maintaining working knowledge of dental artistry, physics, materials and medicine
  • Marketing decisions
  • Purchasing decisions
  • Working on difficult or fearful patients

The stressors can make you feel inadequate, ineffective and isolated. What can you do about it?

3.     Change Your Perspective

View your practice as a business

If you own your own practice, it’s essential to recognize it has to be run as a business. Ensure your business model includes:

  • Clear and efficient processes for yourself and your staff
  • Continuous marketing
  • Rewards and bonuses for your staff
  • Staying current with dental technology

View your patients as customers

Even if you don’t own a practice, remember to:

  • Treat your patients like clients whom you want to give exceptional customer experiences.
  • Think of ways to continually improve your interaction with patients.
  • Develop a reputation for stellar chairside manner and beautiful work, and patient referrals will follow.

View your well-being as important

You can take care of your business and your patients, but if you neglect yourself, burnout is inevitable.

  • Seek support – Talk to a close friend, family member or an experienced dentist. If you seek one or two veteran dentists as mentors, they can share their experiences, wisdom and practical advice.
  • Exercise and rest – They both help you cope with stress, rejuvenate and have a healthier lifestyle.
  • Enroll in continuing education – It can build enthusiasm about your profession. As you learn and use new techniques and technology, you’ll have more to offer your patients. And they’ll be excited about it, too.

4.     Consider Your Options

Many dentists find it helpful to change their routine by taking temporary or new assignments. The ability to work in different facilities with different patient populations can be refreshing.

If you’re interested in exploring your options, contact WSi Healthcare Personnel. We’re a leader in staffing solutions for the Western region. Partner with us.