Overcoming Burnout and Thriving in Your Dental Career
With many dental procedures now virtually painless and completed in one day, the demand for achieving an attractive, healthy smile is rapidly surpassing the number of available dentists. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is now projecting an 8.1% growth in employment for dentists over the next decade. Moreover, the BLS expects nearly 10,000 job openings for dentists to emerge between 2020 and 2030.
With the dental profession ranking No. 11 among the best paying jobs in the U.S. and the demand for dentists so high, why does the BLS forecast a deficit of dentists for the next 10 years? After surveying thousands of dentists about why they may feel unmotivated or burned out, their answers involved multiple factors affecting both new and existing dental practices.
Finding Competent People To Help Run a Practice
Putting together a team of dental assistants, dental hygienists, and administrative staff while learning the ins and outs of managing a dental practice is not anybody’s idea of a good time. Ensuring all employees have been thoroughly interviewed and vetted is essential for ensuring a new practice’s team is motivated and conscientious of doing their best.
Even older dentists with established practices reported losing motivation due to stress over finding decent assistants and hygienists. Some of them said that, at times, they had to reduce patient workload because they lacked team members to help them maintain high-quality dental treatment.
Stress Over Attracting and Retaining Sufficient Patients
Dentists with practices less than five years old are prone to experiencing premature burnout levels over the problem of attracting and keeping new patients. A study investigating lack of motivation and burnout in dentists between 23 and 31 years old found:
- Of participants in the age group 26 to 28 years old, 39% said they were “affected by emotional exhaustion.” Almost 48% reported feeling “a high degree” of burnout because of work. Over 46% of dentists surveyed said they felt “worn out” by the time they got home.
- Of participants in the age group 23 to 25 years old, close to half of these dentists said they did not feel tired while working, and most did not report burnout or lack of motivation.
Researchers learned that dentists just starting a new practice experienced a loss of motivation more than dentists who had an established practice and a decent client base. What sets older dentists apart from younger dentists is that they typically have made it past the initial, challenging phase of successfully building, marketing, and solidifying a practice. One way they accomplish this is by incorporating orthodontics into their practices.
5 Tried and True Ways To Stay Motivated in Dentistry
Whether you’re new to the exciting world of practicing dentistry or have an established practice, stress, burnout, and thoughts of quitting are common complaints among general dentists.
The cure for lack of motivation can be accomplished by eliminating whatever is putting stress on you and your practice:
Get more patients using digital marketing.
Digital-marketing strategies for dentists are an absolute must if a dentist wants to reach as many people as possible. Having a website that is frequently updated with interesting articles using SEO techniques, maintaining responsive social media accounts, and sharing your best work using high-resolution before and after photos are just a few effective methods dentists can use to increase their new-patient numbers.
Make time for yourself and your family.
It’s hard to mentally leave the office when the day is over. The best way to take your mind off the dental office is to spend quality time with family and friends and find a hobby (or two) that you absolutely love. Whether it’s fishing, riding a motorcycle, or reading the latest best seller, you’ll be amazed at how much calmer and more motivated you feel when you return to work after a restful weekend.
Don’t forget about your team.
Employees working for a stressed-out, apathetic dentist are going to pick up on those negative emotions and start feeling that way themselves. Incentivize your team by providing regular bonuses, complimenting them on their work, holding monthly “Go team!” meetings, and keeping yourself motivated by relaxing during your downtime.
Talk about your burnout with a mentor.
Dentists with practices over 10 years old have been through it all and seen it all. Talking to a seasoned dentist about what you are feeling can give you the valuable advice you need to help you overcome a particularly difficult stage of your career.
Training, Training, and More Training
General and pediatric dentists provide a wide variety of dental procedures. However, one dental specialty they cannot offer without taking dental continuing education courses is orthodontics. Market analysts expect the orthodontic industry to triple in value, increasing from nearly 3 billion in 2020 to over 7 billion by 2030.
How many patients have you had to refer out because they wanted or needed orthodontic work only never to hear from that patient again? Now has never been a better time than to enroll in online orthodontic courses provided by the American Orthodontic Society. Many general and pediatric dentists have already done this by completing a professionally taught ortho course that includes all the information they need to start providing orthodontic treatment to children and adults.
Find out how you can start increasing production and building your orthodontic patient base by contacting AOS today.
To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.