Dentists, much the same as our medical colleagues, are individuals that are resilient conscientious and hardworking. By virtue of the hurdles and challenges put before them these qualities are developed over the course of their training and later once they transition into the ‘big wide world’. This is more apparent than ever as the number of challenges has slowly increased not only academically but also from an aspect of regulation, litigation and the systems we work within.

If clinicians are more ‘resilient’ and ‘hard working’ then why is there an apparent increase in clinician burn out? Or is it something else?

Not only have academic challenges increased but also the frameworks within which we work can be considered restrictive and ‘more’ is now expected for ‘less’, the latter in terms of time and resource. This can have a significant psychological effect on an individual where the provision of the ideal is made more difficult and mentally weighs on them.

For example, a dentist may have learnt and trained on how to provide root canal treatment under optimal conditions but may be faced with a situation where these ideals cannot be put into practice consistently in the ‘big wide world’. The constant inability to reach what they may consider ‘best practice’ effects mental well being. Less than optimal conditions, funding, resources and training is not logically conducive of a consistently optimal outcome.

The below article by an American Physician provides an insight into ‘Moral Injury’ within medicine.

Physicians aren’t ‘burning out.’ They’re suffering from moral injury by Talbot & Dean

All opinions are my own and do not represent those of employers, institutions or any affiliations.