Tel: 0207-199-3464

    • 23 MAR 16

    Better or worse?

    I was recently treating a colleague of mine, Howard Myers, who told me about a paper he had co-written with his sister in 2004, entitled it’s difficult being a dentist: stress and health in the general dental practitioner.

    After Howard had left my chair, I thought it would be worth looking up the paper to see whether things had changed in the last decade or so – to see if they’d got better or worse (I’ll withhold my suspicions at this point).

    So, In 2004 Howard and his team were very thorough in their study; with a sample size of approximately 2,500 GDPs they collated data based on a number of questionnaires to determine the most common ‘stressors’ in dentistry. Included in the list was running behind schedule – on par with dealing with difficult, uncooperative patients at 68 per cent. Working in the NHS was another common problem as was working under constant time pressures. Lower down the list were staffing issues and financial constraints.

    As a result of this degree of stress, respondents also reported physical and mental problems – including minor psychiatric conditions at 30 percent (comparable with GPs). Backache, as ever, was also very high, as was reliance on alcohol.

    Howard, based on these findings, recommended the need to address these issues by introducing interventions to combat stress. It was also noted that many of the respondents had downplayed their negative responses (that British stiff upper lip in action again), so the results were probably far worse than detailed on paper.

    Reading Howard’s paper reminded me of another article (one more anecdotal than scientific), that appeared in the Guardian in 2000. Seemingly corroborating Howard’s research, this article reported that he stresses of working in the NHS were driving dentists to alcoholism and suicide.

    Indeed, dentists have the second highest suicide rate of any profession – coming in just below medical doctors. The research suggests that dentists are 1.67 times more likely to commit suicide compared to someone in an average job – a startling figure. The reasons ranged from unhappy patients transferring their grievances to their practitioner to having to deal with a heightened sense of workplace stress.

    Of course, this is all based on research conducted a decade or more ago. If we were to rewrite Howard’s paper today, would we get the same results?

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Click on the link above to see what happened when we were invited by Channel 4′s Embarrassing Bodies to treat a patient who was suffering from an extreme case of  teeth grinding.

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Patient Testimonials

Just a quick but BIG thank you all for making what was a frightening and miserable procedure into an experience I could hanle. If there had been more people like you all, I would have a much healthier mouth. It was a pleasure meeting you and your kindness is much ...

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Georgia F
This is just to thank you for the root-canal treatment which you carried out on my tooth last Tuesday afternoon. All has now settled down and I can chew on the tooth as normal. I think that we both had a tough ninety minutes last Tuesday but for me it ...

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David Thomson
Thank you so much for looking after our nanny Noelia! Thank you also for offering her such a generous discount for your excellent treatment. She asked me to pass on her thanks also. With best wishes.

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Quentin McCoach
I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and Mr. Sultan for the excellent patient care I received last week. My reluctance to proceed with the surgical treatment was apparent, but with your advice and reassurance, I am sure that I made the right decision. The procedure, though ...

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Anne
Thank you for treating my dental pain, it was a great relief! Thank you also for the care I received while visiting your practice.

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Fraser Gray
Thank you very much for the wonderful work you did for me. I can smile again!

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Zita Drew
Thankyou so much for once again saving a difficult tooth!!  Another thankyou is due to you for your gift to my daughter of the recipe book written by your aunt. Noelle returned to Dubai with the book firmly tucked under her arm. She returns in July for the summer and ...

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Sheila Ferris
Just to say thanks for the coffees & friendly, supportive chats. You certainly helped to take the edge off a stressful time for us.

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Rod & Sue Witheridge

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