Midway through my career, I was totally burnt out from dentistry. I was always nervous and afraid of getting sued all the time. I was swept up in the false belief that dentistry was just a stressful high-performance job and there was nothing I could do to change this. It was just the profession that I chose, and I would have to deal with my anxieties and regret by waiting until my kids were out of college. Maybe by then I would have paid off my loans and have enough money saved so I could retire and then do something else.
Well this my friends is no way to live. Life is too short. Don't give in to this false belief that there is nothing you can do. Because I didn't and I’m proof that you can too. I took action. I looked at myself in the mirror, acknowledged there was a serious problem, I reached out for help, and made the necessary changes to overcome this mentality. I even wrote a book about my story The Stress-Free Dentist: Overcome Burnout and Start Loving Dentistry Again to share my struggles and help other dentists in a similar situation.
There are some concrete clinical and non-clinical things that I did to help me get back to defeating burnout and actually enjoy going to work every day. Sure, I have bad days and bad patient experiences but who doesn't? The important thing is to realize that all dentists go through this, and it is totally normal. We are not perfect and say it with me. “That's ok”. Because guess who else has made mistakes, got a bad review, had a filling break, missed a margin, or had an uncomfortable conversation with an angry patient or staff member. The answer is every other dentist in the world, ever! So don't beat yourself up.
Follow the links below to read each part of Dr. Block's three-part series on stress-free dentistry below!