Over one third of dental helpline callers are newly qualified dentists looking to leave

Over a third of calls to the Confidental helpline service come from dentists who have qualified in the last five years and are thinking about leaving dentistry, the charity has said.

This is according to one of the Confidental trustees, John Lewis, who believes that COVID-19 may be a factor behind it.

In DDU Journal, John said: ‘I speak to dentists who didn’t do any dentistry in their fourth year of training who only had six months as an foundation dentist (FD) or missed out on their FD year entirely.

‘It’s not been a nice introduction to professional life.’

Signs of struggle

He also said that professional isolation can be damaging to mental health in dentistry, and highlights the significant role that senior managers have in noticing warning signs and acting if concerned about a colleague’s mental health.

‘It might be someone has become quieter than usual, or they suddenly go over the top about something, or they look tired because they aren’t sleeping.

‘You could see a depreciation in the quality of their work, such as not getting referrals and other paperwork done on time, which might easily lead to complaints, and the final stage might be alcohol or substance misuse.’

Reach out

In response, John Makin, head of the DDU, said: ‘Sometimes it can be difficult to reach out for professional support and advice.

‘However, dental professionals shouldn’t have to “just deal with it” and wellbeing services, such as those provided by the DDU and Confidental, are invaluable in providing an understanding and supportive environment in which to discuss difficult topics. 

‘At the DDU we recommend that dental professionals make the most of their support network to help them deal with stress, anxiety or depression.’

Click here to read the full DDU journal.

If you need to talk to a fellow dental professional in confidence, call ConfiDental on 0333 987 5158. DDU members can also contact a team of expert dento-legal advisers.

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