Survey: Younger dentist report higher level of stress, emotional health concerns | American Dental Association

Survey: Younger dentist report higher level of stress, emotional health concerns

2021 Dentist Well-Being Survey Report highlights need to promote available support programs

2021 Dentist Well-Being Survey Report graphic

A wellness survey found that about 86% of dentists surveyed reported they were satisfied with their dental practice, with 95% reported feeling respected by the people they work with.

However, employees in a private dental practice were less likely than partners to be satisfied, and younger dentists reported feeling respected less often compared to older dentists, according to the 2021 Dentist Well-Being Survey Report, which provides insights on dentists’ physical, mental and emotional health.

Results from the 2021 survey, released on Jan. 31, indicate younger dentists continue to be disproportionately affected by mental and emotional health concerns. This age group was less likely to feel in control of their work environment, reported higher level of stress at work and scored higher on a depression scale.

“Younger dentists, who may benefit from additional support, were least likely to be aware of a state dentist well-being program available through their dental association,” according to the report.

Key findings from the well-being survey include:
The leading medical condition dentists reported was elevated cholesterol (16%), and anxiety (16%). The percent of dentists diagnosed with anxiety more than tripled in 2021 compared to 2003 (5%).
In the past year, 84% of dentists reported pain or discomfort while working. The neck, lower back, shoulders and upper back were the most common sites of discomfort. Of dentists who reported pain or discomfort while working, 14% indicated the pain interfered with work.
Dentists younger than 40 years old were more likely to score higher on the depression risk assessment questions than older dentists and have lower perceived self-competence.
Less than half, or 46%, of dentists were aware of a state dentist well-being program available through their dental association.

About 1,000 dentists participated in the 2021 survey. 

The results highlights the importance of the State Well-Being Program Directory, which began over 25 years ago. The program provides peer assistance with dentists available to help each other with personal challenges.

To receive a copy of the State Well-Being Program Directory, email the Council on Dental Practice at dentalpractice@ada.org or visit the ADA Catalog. To view the full 2021 Dentist Well-Being Survey Report, visit the ADA Store.