Three in five dentists feel COVID-19 pandemic increased their stress and anxiety

Almost 70% of dental professionals feel they are experiencing higher stress and anxiety levels as a result of the pandemicAlmost 70% of dental professionals feel they are experiencing higher stress and anxiety levels as a result of the pandemic.

This is according to new research brought together by the Dental Defence Union (DDU).

In a survey of its members, the data revealed that half felt they are unable to spend an adequate amount of time with their patients.

And 67% feel stressed and anxious on a weekly basis.

High pressure situations

Other findings include:

  • 47% often go to work when they don’t feel well
  • 49% feel they are unable to do their jobs effectively
  • 72% believe they are making a positive difference to the lives of their patients.

Lesley Taylor is a dentolegal adviser at the DDU. ‘Most dental professionals are used to dealing with high pressure situations and stressful decisions. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified these challenges to an unprecedented level,’ she said.

‘As many dental professionals prepare to return to work, they will now be faced with a “new normal”. And they will need to adapt to new ways of working.

‘This may elicit a wide range of emotions and the increased pressure may take its toll on their personal mental wellbeing.’

As a result, the DDU has kicked off a new health and wellbeing e-learning course. It aims to help its members recognise the warning signs in yourself and others, as well as the steps you can take to seek support.

Change is crucial

This comes as dental professionals urge colleagues to speak out about their mental health struggles.

Dr Mahrukh Khwaja is a dentist and emotional resilience coach based in Kent and believes a change needs to happen within the industry.

She said: ‘As a dental community, we need to take the initiative to create safe spaces to talk about emotions and thoughts and share our vulnerabilities in the first instance.

‘To be human. To take down the facade and just relate to others with empathy. That’s the missing link.’

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