What I have observed to cause professional burnout in the overwhelming majority of cases is the dentist’s inability to control costs. This root cause is evident in both personal living expense and business overhead expense management. Dentists are thereby forced to earn significantly more than their desire to work permits. Therefore, not only must they delay retirement, they are forced to perform more procedures on greater numbers of patients, working more hours and more days just to stay afloat. Sound familiar?
Dental schools often prepare their students well for clinical dentistry, but a dentist running a private practice also will need to be well versed on the other aspects of owning a dental practice. Dentists who own their own practice take on many tasks that would typically be handled by a human resource coordinator, customer service coordinator, business manager, a marketing director or an accountant. Obviously, if you are able to hire a capable staff some of these tasks can be shared with your employees, but I have found that many dentists opening a practice for the first time are surprised by how much time goes into tasks that are not related to clinical dentistry. One factor that can cause the cycle of burnout to begin is not controlling overhead costs and therefore having to work more hours.
For tips on lowering the overhead costs in your dental practice, you may be interested in reading the previous articles I have written on this topic which are linked to below.
Dr. Bill Blatchford also wrote an insightful article entitled You Choose Your Overhead posted on the Dentistry IQ Dental Economics website. You also may find it helpful to read the ADA’s article on Dental Office Overhead statistics.