Decreasing Dentisting Stress

by Victoria Harris Victoria Harris | Sep 18, 2023 3:05:23 PM

Dentistry is a difficult industry. You’re in a position where (almost) no one wants to see you; for some, you’re the last place they want to come back to, and it’s depressing! The importance of self-care is becoming more recognized by society, and I can’t emphasize how necessary it is for dentists. I’m with you, I’m one of you. 

Dr. Shakila Angadi of The Inspired Dentist, a dentist turned social & emotional intelligence coach, shared with our Dental Nachos community during a dental continuing education seminar ways to make your dentisting stress decrease! Here are the highlights. 

Managing Expectations

Doing full contact arts and crafts as a dentist can be very stressful at times. One tip that can help reduce stress in your daily dentisting life is to ABME… Always Be Managing Expectations!  

Managing expectations sets you AND the patient up for success. Patients look to you for guidance, AKA what's going to happen to them in your operatory and office, and a missed expectation can cause a lot of stress for everyone involved.

Here is an example of how managing your patient’s expectations can help make the outcomes of patient interactions more successful:

Your patient asks, “What does my insurance cover? How long will this procedure take?"

You respond, “Great question. I would like to know that too! Dental insurance works a lot like a COUPON with blackout dates like airline miles. We will do our best to maximize your dental insurance coupon. This procedure will take about 45 minutes. 

Even though you may predict it will take 30 minutes for the filling, add an extra 15 minute cushion whenever a patient asks a question like this! 

Why? If you finish early the patient will be extra happy and that is what dentistry is all about . . . delivering joy while minimizing our “crying on the inside!”

Perfectionism is the killer of happiness

Have you ever heard the phrase "Perfection is the enemy of good?" Well, in dentistry, I'd argue that perfectionism isn't just the enemy of good; it's the serial killer of happiness.

I know what you're thinking: "Isn't perfectionism a good thing? Doesn't it mean we're dedicated to our craft?" Well, there's a difference between perfectionism and always striving for excellence.

Striving for excellence is like flossing daily - it's healthy and keeps things running smoothly. But perfectionism? That's like brushing your teeth with a wire brush. It's overkill and it's going to leave some serious damage. 

Dr. Shakila Angadi herself expresses the detrimental effects of perfectionism in this clip: 


So take a deep breath, and aim for progress, not perfection. At the end of the day, our patients don't need us to be perfect. They need us to be human. The last time I checked, humans aren't perfect. We're just trying to do our best, one tooth at a time.

If you're a dentist seeking to make your career less stressful, our Dental Nachos Supreme membership could be the solution you've been searching for. This membership not only offers an extensive library of high-quality dental continuing education courses, but it also provides a supportive community, 1:1 personalized support, plus discounts to our in-person events & swag! Get access to the course above & more by clicking the button below: 


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