Tips to Handle Dentist Burnout

The long-hours, fast-paced environment and trying to maintain the practice’s productivity all play a role in adding to a dentist’s daily stress. The risk of burnout is high when there is an overload of stress constantly with no release. With the heightened responsibilities over keeping staff and patients safe, dentists are even more vulnerable to job burnout during this pandemic. 

You may be experiencing burnout if you have the following symptoms:

  • You feel more irritable, distracted, and less productive
  • You feel exhausted physically and emotionally
  • You feel more cynical and detached


What should you do if you’re burnt out?

Burnout can make someone lose themselves to emptiness, so the sooner you can identify it, the sooner you can troubleshoot the next steps to return to your normal. Here are five things you can do to combat burnout and identify areas that can be improved to help reduce your stress:


Get regular sleep and exercise

Giving your body a chance to recover from a stressful day is vital for you to reset your counter. While it can be tempting to unwind by doing on your phone after work, exercising will be more beneficial for your health. Not only will you strengthen your body, but physical activities will help shed your stress and tension with the endorphins produced.

This will also help relax your mind so that you can have better quality sleep. Having a regular sleep schedule will also help ensure that your body is well-rested for the next day.


Learn to relax

It can be hard to detach from work if you constantly think about your patients and the treatments that are coming up. It would be beneficial to set boundaries for yourself and be fine with taking your mind off work until the next day. (That is unless something requires your urgent attention.)

Come up with a list of hobbies you can focus on after work. Whether you’re doing an activity alone or with friends (virtually), this will be a good way to relax and focus on something other than work.


Have a support system

Don’t face your stress and tensions alone. Being able to talk to someone about your stress can help you let off some steam. Find a group of friends in the same profession, or even your staff, to form a support system. Since they most likely have encountered the same scenarios, your support system will understand the frustrations and stress you’re experiencing. They can even offer you advice on how to tackle issues you might have.


Listen to podcasts

Listening to podcasts can help you ‘upskill’ so that you are better equipped to deal with different situations at the office. Here are a few that can help you help you learn new professional techniques, manage work anxiety, and release stress.

  • Dental Hacks: hosted by Alan Mead, DDS, and Jason Lipscomb, DDS. Tackles hot-button topics in dentistry through interviews with doses of humour. 
  • The Dental Podcast Network’s Channels One and Two: offers podcasts from many different and knowledgeable contributors. Covers a wide range of topics from protecting our public health to dental assistant talk.
  • Beyond the Prophy: hosted by Jasmin Haley, giving great advice to empower and inspire you to seek career excellence while pursuing your passion.
  • The ZZZ Pack: hosted by Lisa Moler, a dental sleep practice expert; Erin Elliott, DDS, a lecturer in dental sleep and short-term orthodontics; and Jason Tierney, the founder of the North American Dental Sleep Medicine Symposium; focusing on the issues surrounding dental sleep practice.
  • Discover more dental industry podcasts at Off the Cusp.


Reevaluate your workflows

Having a more efficient workflow within the practice can greatly reduce stress. Processes that can be automated should be automated, leaving you more time to handle more urgent tasks. Appointment confirmations and COVID-19 screening can be a time sink. However, you can easily automate these tasks with features on your dental management software. On Paradigm Clinical, you can schedule confirmations to be sent out by My Contact Pro, and patients can fill in their COVID-19 screening forms via a link sent automatically by the COVIDform module.


We’re finally at the last leg of this year and you should give yourself a pat on the back for navigating through a turbulent nine months. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you end up needing time to regroup and recuperate from burnout. While it’s important to do everything in your power to keep the practice running, your wellbeing is also important. You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of your patients.

If you would like to discuss how you can optimize your workflow with our Paradigm Clinical dental management software, contact us today!