The Burnout Monster Is Lurking, I See It!

Professional burnout is an epidemic! In a study, just this year, of over a thousand Human Resource managers 98% indicated burnout was actually “sabotaging” their businesses. Many managers indicated professional burnout accounted for 50% of their employee turnover!

Companies across all industries are seeing it impact their business, so they are putting internal programs in place to prevent it before it steals their talent, institutional knowledge, and competitive advantage. It is one of the most prevalent work-related problems in our society today.

Guess who is near the top of the professional burnout list? That’s right, dentists. Professional burnout is regularly destroying dental careers that took years of hard work to build. It is a monster lurking over the shoulder of every dentist just waiting to transform work into something dreaded and hated, instead of something exciting and rewarding.


Why does this monster haunt dentists so often? Simple as it may sound, it is the human body’s response to chronic stress. Factors that dentist deal with on a daily basis such as managing and leading a team, paying off debt, keeping patients happy and healthy, maintaining a profitable practice, preventing malpractice, and fighting managed care, all lead to constant stress.

They not only deal with these stresses during office hours, but they end up spending their free time thinking about or managing these issues, which means family time, sleep, vacations and exercise time suffer. This is the definition of chronic stress. Over time, slowly but surely, the monster creeps in and does its damage.

Its effects are subtle at first: fatigue, anxiety, unhappiness, frustration, lack of patience, insomnia, and headaches. Eventually, however, it manifests into depression, high blood pressure, heart attacks, drug or alcohol abuse, clinical mistakes, severe cynicism, suicide, and divorce. It can kill a practice and a career, and take a devastating toll on all areas of your life.


Being aware of the problem is the first step to prevention. Staying ahead of the triggers by controlling stress in your life before it starts wreaking havoc, is the best bet for overcoming or avoiding burnout.

So how do you do this? Get help! Most of dental burnout is a result of dentists trying to do it all: believing they can deliver state-of-the-art, high-quality dentistry as well as be a super boss, charismatic leader, a successful COO, CFO, HR Director in a new economic environment of intense competition, managed care, and constant change.

Without well-trained employees, effective leadership, and best-practices business systems in place, burnout is inevitable. Building a solid team and working with dental industry professionals can alleviate a significant portion of the chronic stress.

Having been in dentistry for almost 40 years, I have seen dental burnout do it’s damage way too often. Do not let the burnout monster destroy your love for dentistry, your ability to help others, your time with family, or your health. Start prevention now!


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