Dental Burnout


Four of Five Dentists Suffer from Dental Burnout

The majority of dentists have felt burnt out and exhausted with dentistry at some point in their dental careers, according to a recent Wealthy Dentist survey.

May 1, 2008 (San Francisco, California) Dentistry is a challenging career that often leaves its practitioners exhausted. Four out of five dentists have felt burnt out professionally in a recent survey by internet dental marketing resource The Wealthy Dentist.

Dentists offered colleagues tips on how to avoid becoming overwhelmed with stress. Working only four days a week was a top suggestion, along with taking long lunch breaks and regular vacations. “Don’t work too many hours, have hobbies, and get rid of people in the office who drag you down,” advised a Canada dentist.

Dental practice management can be difficult, particularly for doctors who aren’t business savvy. Some dentists contract this work out to dental consultants or other professionals. “The business side can get heavy. Good coaching can help,” said a Virginia dentist.

Dental continuing education is one way that dentists can keep themselves engaged and motivated. “Taking CE classes to learn and improve techniques rejuvenates my practice and keeps me fresh,” raved an Illinois dentist.

Dental insurance can be the most frustrating part of a dentist’s job, especially when faced with payouts that have not been raised in years or even decades. “If all dentists unite and make a pledge to drop managed care insurances and get better fees for their hard work, I am sure it would reduce burnout significantly,” suggested one Florida dentist.

As dentists age, burnout can become increasingly common. “I have noticed signs of burnout in some dentist friends in their 40’s, sandwiched by aging parents and children in college,” said a retired dentist. “The over-40 crowd needs time away to counter burnout,” agreed a pediatric dentist.

Sometimes a dentist being his or her own boss reduces burnout. “A doc can suffer if they are not the top decision maker for the practice, like an associate not able to completely control one’s schedule,” offered a California dentist.

But for other dentists, being a sole practitioner is too much stress. A Colorado dentist describes how ballooning interest rates made his solo practice burdensome, “I couldn’t muster the energy and effort to work any more, so I sold out and joined a group practice. After a couple of months on this lighter schedule with no debts to worry about, I began to enjoy dentistry again. I’m still practicing part time in a group practice setting, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

When all else fails, burnout might indicate that it’s time to take a break. “Sometimes the very best first step is to sell the practice, take a year off, relax, think, and plan new strategies,” offered a dental implant dentist.

Dentistry offers unique stresses. “I don’t think any other medical specialty deals so much with the ‘mental’ aspect of patient care,” said an Iowa periodontist. “Burnout to me is mainly the result of the negative light in which most people view the dental office experience. No matter how hard I try. there is no cure for that problem,” sighed a Massachusetts dentist.

One California dentist shared a sad tale of being unable to avoid stress. “My sixties have found me tired and beset by medical issues, but I find it almost impossible to earn a living unless I work more than I did in my fifties. I don’t know if I can afford to retire. Stress is killing me; I just had cancer, and still have it, and my docs say avoid stress – hah!”

“We all get burnt out sometimes, but dentists are especially at risk,” said Jim Du Molin, dental marketing guru and founder of of dental website The Wealthy Dentist. “It’s a demanding profession. If dentists aren’t careful, their careers can dominate their entire lives.”


Visit to learn more about The Wealthy Dentist’s surveys in the areas of dental implants, sedation dentistry, wisdom teeth,
, and dentures. Jim Du Molin offers a free weekly newsletter on marketing with dental websites.


Jim Du Molin

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