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Engagement May Protect Against Dental Burnout

Earlier this year, the American Dental Association (ADA) Practice Institute held its first conference specifically on battling burnout in dentistry.

Earlier this year, the American Dental Association (ADA) Practice Institute held its first conference specifically on battling burnout in dentistry. Fortunately, dentists are nowhere near the 42% burnout rate reported by physicians.1 A 2017 survey of U.S. dentists found a burnout rate of 13.2%.2 Yet given the correlations between burnout and reduced quality of care, as well as deterioration in personal well-being, it is not hard to see why the ADA is acting now to address the problem.3

Burnout in dentistry has many causes,4 but one of the easier ones to monitor is overwork — and the dentist work hour data do show some cause for concern. Over the past decade, the time dentists report spending in the office has been creeping up for both general practitioners and specialists.5

On the bright side, being highly engaged in your work may protect against burnout. In the survey, dentists who described their work as engaging were less likely to have high burnout rates.2 If this finding is correct, practice owners who may work longer hours in the dental office than employed dentists5 could be somewhat protected from burnout as long as they find the work rewarding.

REFERENCES

  1. National Physician Burnout and Depression Report 2018. Available at: https:/​/​www.medscape.com/​slideshow/​2018-lifestyle-burnout-depression-6009235. Accessed September 17, 2019.
  2. Calvo JM, Kwatra J, Yansane A, Tokede O, Gorter RC, Kalenderian E. Burnout and work engagement among U.S. dentists. J Patient Safety. 2017. Epub ahead of print.
  3. American Dental Association House of Delegates. Policy Statement 264H-2017.
  4. Singh P, Aulak DS, Mangat SS, Aulak MS. Systematic review: factors contributing to burnout in dentistry. Occ Med. 2016;66:27–31.
  5. American Dental Association Health Policy Institute. 2017 Characteristics of Private Dental Practice. Available at: https:/​/​www.ada.org/​~/​media/​ADA/​Science and Research/​HPI/​Files/​HPIData_​SDPC_​2017.xlsx?la=en. Accessed September 17, 2019.

 

From Decisions in Dentistry. October 2019;5(9):52.

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