Dentistry entails much more than just diagnosing and treating teeth. Besides excelling in clinical endeavors, dentists need, among other traits, to have the listening skills of a psychologist, the intuition of an office manager, the acumen of a businessperson, and the expertise of an artist. It’s no wonder that this noble profession suffers from some of the highest stress rates of any profession. Relax, check out this quiz, and try to reduce some stress for a healthier practice and a healthier you.
1. The number one cause of death for dentists is _________.
a. stress-related cardiovascular disease
b. spinal disorders
d. arguments among office staff
2. The physical issues experienced by dentists can include:
a. back pain and circulatory disorders
b. fatigue and carpal tunnel
c. high blood pressure
d. pain in the gluteus maximus muscle
e. a, b, and c (sometimes d, depending on the day)
3. Dentists suffer psycho-neurotic disorders at a rate of 2½ times greater than physicians.
c. What you do mean by that?
4. Coronary disease and high blood pressure are over 25% more prevalent among dentists than ________.
a. in the general population
c. medical doctors
5. Dentists are ________ to seek out help for stress-related mental illnesses.
a. less likely
b. more likely
c. just as likely
d. Too stressed to answer this question
6. “Burnout” results from ___.
b. competitive nature
c. not taking vacations
d. time pressures
e. some patients’ unrealistic expectations
g. all of the above and then some…. (how many letters are allowed in multiple choice?)
7. Data suggests that dentists experience patterns of physical stress responses that parallel the patient’s fear and anxiety responses when undergoing a dental procedure.
c. Patients feel psychological stress at the dentist?
8. To avoid exhaustion and reduce stress in the workplace, dentists should _______.
a. take a lunch break each day
b. eat nourishing foods
c. get enough rest
d. avoid staring out the window at the crowded parking lot of the dentist across the street
e. a, b, c (and probably d)
While some of these answers were written with humor, stress is a very serious matter for dental professionals. Practice management professionals have offered some time-tested solutions for workplace stress, such as delegating some tasks that can be done by a non-dentist to a trusted office staff member; holding weekly meetings to discuss issues that could have a negative impact on the week/schedule; and forcing yourself to make even a small amount of time for things you love to do, such as hobbies and family time. Reading practice management articles in Endodontic Practice US can give you even more insights into how to grow your dental practice while staying healthier, happier, and more productive.
Source of facts: Stress in dentistry — it could kill you! By Randy Lang, DDS, D.Ortho, Oral Health. Sept, 2007. https://www.oralhealthgroup.com/features/stress-in-dentistry-it-could-kill-you/ (accessed august 25, 2017.)
Answers: 1.a. 2.e. 3.a. 4.a. 5.a. 6.g. 7.a. 8.e.