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Plan for the future by taking care of yourself now.

Prosper with purpose: A new dentist's guide to profitability and well-being

Feb. 15, 2024
Start your career with your long-term physical and mental health in mind. That way you'll have a long and pain-free career.

A career as a new dentist is a thrilling journey filled with the promise of professional accomplishment and contributing to the community’s oral health. The traditional narrative often revolves around the goal of financial success, overshadowing the equally essential consideration of personal well-being.

As a newly minted dentist, it's easy to get caught up in demanding schedules, patient expectations, and the desire to establish a lucrative practice. Yet, can you truly succeed in your professional endeavors without sacrificing your own physical, mental, and emotional health?

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Take a holistic approach

I believe dentists can be successful, without compromising their well-being, through a holistic and integrative approach. By incorporating ergonomics, technology, and mindfulness into the dental office, dentists can create sustainable and lucrative careers.

Ergonomics is the key to creating a long-lasting, pain-free, and productive career. Investing in ergonomic stools, instruments, and loupes to create a comfortable and physically supportive workspace minimizes the risk of musculoskeletal issues that are associated with prolonged periods of patient care.

The incorporation of ergonomic design not only addresses immediate physical concerns, but also contributes to long-term health. By mitigating the physical toll of repetitive tasks and prolonged periods of static posture, ergonomic improvements create a foundation for a sustainable and pain-free career. An ergonomic environment enhances focus and efficiency during patient care. By providing the necessary physical support, dentists can maintain peak performance, which results in increased productivity and profitability.

Technology also plays a role

In addition to ergonomic improvements, technology helps optimize workflow efficiency. The integration of digital impressions and CAD/CAM technology streamlines treatment processes. This improves accuracy and efficiency while reducing chair time for patients, contributing to a more positive patient experience that can help grow the practice.

Comprehensive patient management software automates administrative tasks, which allows dentists to delegate responsibilities and focus on patient care. This minimizes the administrative burden and frees up time for dentists to engage in professional development and well-being practices.

Dentistry is not only physically demanding but emotionally demanding. Mindfulness practices are healthy coping mechanisms for the emotional demands. Techniques such as meditation and deep breathing can be integrated into the workday to provide dentists with tools to manage their stress and maintain emotional resilience. Establishing a culture that encourages regular breaks between patients allows the team to recuperate physically and mentally. These breaks are an opportunity to step away from the intensity of clinical work to promote a healthier work-life balance.

Editor's note: This article originally appeared in DE Weekend, the newsletter that will elevate your Sunday mornings with practical and innovative practice management and clinical content from experts across the field. Subscribe here.

Amrita R. Patel, DDS, FICD, FPFA, graduated from NYU College of Dentistry in 2011 and completed her residency at the Nassau University Medical Center. She is a general dentist in private practice with her father, endodontist Dr. Rohit Z. Patel, in Westchester County, New York. She chaired the New York State Dental Association New Dentist Committee and served as the new dentist representative on the ADA’s Council on Dental Benefit Plans for 2020-21. She is also among the recipients of the 2021 ADA 10 Under 10 Awards.

Natasha Hassam-Sarwar, DDS, has a background in dentistry, ergonomics, and disability insurance. After a decade in clinical dentistry, musculoskeletal pain and nerve injuries led her to a new role as a disability insurance agent and dental coach. Natasha is dedicated to helping dentists achieve success without compromising their health. Her perspective as a dentist and an ergonomist equips her to address the challenges in the profession. Her role as a disability insurance agent helps her provide support, ensuring dentists are financially protected in the face of unforeseen challenges.

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