Dentistry isn’t all the lights and glamour of Hollywood the exam room. Stress plays a large role in any field where a person’s health is in your hands. (You’re right up there with a trauma nurse, in our opinion. You go whiten those teeth!) To avoid pulling your own teeth on a weekly basis, we’ve got three areas to focus on: bust stress, balance your life (not your checkbook, we’re not magical), and delegate those tasks your office manager has been nagging you about.
Stress Management Saves Teeth
It’s true. Not only will you stop chewing your cereal spoon, but you won’t feel the need to perform an extraction on yourself every day. You only have so many teeth, my friend. Working on reducing your stress not only makes you a healthier person (no more hypocrisy in the exam rooms?), but your staff will appreciate your newfound level of sanity refreshing.
•Deep breathing doesn’t just help knock your patients out before a root canal. Remembering to stop and take a few depth breaths helps your body switch from fight or flight mode back to homeostasis.
•Exercise is not only fun, but it’s a great way to reduce stress. (Did that sentence make you want to hit me? Sorry.) Aside from giving you the strength to pull your own teeth if it’s a really bad week, exercise releases endorphins, and as Elle Woods says, endorphins make you happy.
Work/Life Balance is a Constant Exercise
Everywhere we seem to turn has an article or statistic or threat about protecting our work/life balance. And for good reason, it can prevent career burnout, help strengthen relationships, and decrease your stress levels that come with always being “on”.
This doesn’t need to be an overnight 180° change. Your teeth can still be saved by making small changes over time. If you have trouble disconnecting from your email after 6, use that handy “Do Not Disturb” function these new fangled phones have. Or, if you’re great at ignoring emails but always have patient files next to your bed, try going in a little earlier a few mornings a week and set aside time solely to work on charts. If you’re not a morning person, ask your office manager to help protect a chunk of time in the afternoon to work on what is most pressing.
There are many ways to increase your teeth’s chances of survival. Try different methods and find what works for you, then protect it.
Delegation Makes Everyone Better
As a leader (whether with others or by yourself), delegation is key to maximizing your teeth’s chance of survival. Yes, maybe you do have the knowledge to get something done, but would it be keeping you from time with a patient or getting home to dinner with your family? If yes, then delegate that task to the right person, whether it’s your office manager or one of your hygienists.
Build a great team of office and dental staff, and you’ll be able to minimize your stress and maximize your ability to eat that delicious burger you’ve been craving. People will not only get experience by completing these tasks, but people generally want to help and are willing to lend a hand if they can see you’re stressed and struggling to get everything done.
Running a dental practice is hard but rewarding work. These three elements all work in tandem, kind of like the brackets of the braces you put on that teenager today. You know the one, who wouldn’t look away from their phone the whole time? Work on reducing stress, creating a more wholesome work/life balance, and delegating the tasks you can, and you’ll be maintaining your sanity as well as your teeth.