Dentists, even those who are new to their practice, are burning out quickly. Heavy patient loads, the pressures of operating a business, musculoskeletal issues and pain, and many other factors are contributing to burnout in dentistry. Studies show that the most common symptoms of professional dental burnout include:
- Emotional exhaustion
- General frustration
- Feeling worn out at the end of the day
- Exhaustion in the morning
- Dreading going to work
- Feeling that every working hour is tiring
- Decreased energy and less time for family and friends
All ages and sexes were feeling burnt out with their careers, and many have reported that they are feeling anxious, depressed, and less efficient with their work. This can also lead to lower satisfaction from dental patients and a decrease in the quality of care they receive.
Professional burnout comes from a variety of sources. If you are a dentist or a hygienist who is feeling burnt out or dissatisfied with your profession, these are the best ways to combat the causes and effects of burnout in dentistry.
Keep a More Rigid Schedule
One of the more common causes of burnout is overwork, specifically because dentists want to get in as many patients as possible. It’s natural to want to help and see more people, especially if it means more revenue for your business, but it’s the overwork that is likely causing or at least contributing greatly to your burnout.
Create a schedule and stick to it. Avoid bringing in patients before hours, after hours, during lunches, or at any time you have blocked during your day for calls, notes and documentation, or any other business-related activities.
Rest time is also important. Make sure you have the right amount of downtime before and after work, with enough time to sleep, pursue other interests, and spend time with your family and friends. Set your number of vacation days and take them off. This will allow you to provide the best possible care to all your patients.
The concept of perfectionism in dentistry is endemic. Many providers struggle to provide perfect care, rather than looking to provide the best care possible. It’s not realistic to achieve perfection with every patient, nor is it healthy for that to be the focus of any provider. You can avoid the feeling of inadequacy by setting realistic goals for your business and profession. Constantly drive towards excellence, not perfection.
Maintain Healthy Relationship and Interactions
Dentistry can often be a lonely profession, especially for those who operate a solo practice. If you have employees, or are employed by a practice, take the time to engage with your team, build relationships, and maintain a healthy and upbeat office environment. If you practice alone, form relationships with your patients that go beyond the treatment and care you provide.
Creating a healthy work environment is the key to enjoying the work that you do and reducing the stress and anxiety you feel.