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14 Feb 2024

Stress in dentistry: a toolkit for survival

Stress in dentistry: a toolkit for survival

Stress is something that most working people are likely to feel at some point during their professional lives. However, the levels of stress, burnout and anxiety being reported within the dental profession are alarming, with 52% of dental professionals seeking support for their mental health in 2023, and only 30% finding that their work makes them regularly happy.1 

Jeremy Cooper, Founder of Confidental charity which provides a helpline for dentists in distress, is passionate about helping fellow dental colleagues struggling with their mental health. In a lecture at this year’s British Dental Conference & Dentistry Show, Jeremy will be addressing the increasing levels of stress being reported in dentistry and share some tips to help dental professionals cope with the pressures of the job.  

During his presentation, Jeremy will examine why dentistry is regarded as one of the most stressful professions. “Suffice it to say, there is not just one reason that dentistry is stressful; it is multifactorial and complex. Dentists often suffer from stress-induced illnesses such as IBS, insomnia or panic attacks, and alarmingly, many have had dark thoughts, even contemplating a one-way ticket out of here. The high level of stress among dental professions explains why many dentists are either retiring early or giving up dentistry soon after qualification.” 

Jeremy has noticed a shift in people’s stress levels over recent years, which he attributes to modern lifestyles becoming more hectic. “Life has become more frantic and stress levels among dentists have increased over the past few decades. The pressures placed upon dentists by numerous bureaucratic organisations is ever increasing. Trying to achieve a good work/life balance is becoming ever harder. Financial pressures on the younger members of the profession are at an all-time high. Paying back student loans, decreasing remuneration and difficulties in getting on the property ladder are just a few examples of the extra pressures placed on recent graduates. Throw into the mix the economic crisis in a post-Covid world, it is hardly surprising that many are feeling stressed.” 

In his presentation at the British Dental Conference & Dentistry Show, Jeremy will share some practical ways that dentists can de-stress. “While there is no magic formula, the importance of taking time out and relaxation is obvious, but many fail to take this seriously. Burnout, or even complete meltdown, can happen to just about anyone. Above all else, my advice to everybody is share your worries and problems. Whether it be with colleagues, friends or family, do not bottle it up.” 

This is where Confidental comes in, a confidential listening ear and signposting helpline available for all dental professionals. “If ever you feel the need to talk anonymously to someone, you can call Confidental 24/7, 365 days a year and speak in confidence to a member of the profession. It does not matter what it is about – professional or personal – Confidental is there to listen to you, help you focus your thoughts, and signpost you in the right direction for extra help.”   

Jeremy is looking forward shedding light on the important subject of stress at the UK’s largest gathering of dental professionals. “I have been coming to the British Dental Conference & Dentistry Show annually from the very beginning and have seen it increase in size year on year. There is no doubt it is the UK’s premier dental conference and exhibition, and is a must attend for every member of the dental team. This year, I’m looking forward to meeting colleagues, looking around the exhibition and viewing the enormous range of products and services on offer, attending lectures and obtaining CPD points, enjoying a meal and a drink with friends, but most importantly, spreading the word about Confidental.”  

You can see Jeremy’s lecture, ‘Why is dentistry stressful? A toolkit for survival’ on Saturday 18th May at 12:15-13:00 in the Enhanced CPD Theatre at this year’s British Dental Conference & Dentistry Show, taking place on 17-18 May at the NEC in Birmingham.  

Confidental is a registered charity and available to call 24 hours a day on the following number: 0333 987 5158  

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