Dental Burn Out – The 15 Year Itch

 In General Dentist

A movie was released in 1955 starring Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell with the name “The Seven Year Itch”. It was based on a term used in psychology to describe a low point in a marriage.  The movie followed a play by the same name and was first used to describe an inclination to stray from the marriage vows after seven years of marriage. What was once exciting becomes a chore. What was once new and fresh becomes old and stale. What shimmered in the sun has now become dull.

Not only does this describe what is observed in many marriages, but it is also a phenomenon that is observed in the dental profession. I believe that in dentistry, it should be called “The Fifteen Year Itch.” This is the time in the professional life of a dentist when he or she may start to get depressed. He or she has, and continues to develop confidence in their skills, knows how to do crowns and operative dentistry, and excels in cosmetics and uses the latest digital technology. Yet, this doctor now struggles with making ends meet. The doctor is stuck between patients’ monetary capabilities and insurance company limitations and can’t seem to move ahead and develop their own personal financial success. At the same time, he or she is not being challenged from a procedural standpoint. This is where “Dental Burn Out” sets in, a doctor feels they are done with dentistry and all of its difficulties.

I was that dentist at that point in my career. I even considered finding another profession. But then I experienced an epiphany. I brought implant dentistry into my practice. I took an implant placement course in conjunction with a mentoring program, learned how to surgically place implants and use them in many unique ways. I found new avenues of treatment options open for me. My patients appreciated it as they did not have to leave my office for an implant surgery. This was a win-win for everyone. The cases became more exciting and so did my bottom line. All of a sudden, I was not leaving the practice of dentistry. I entered my office on a daily basis with the same level of enthusiasm that I had when I first became a dentist.

If you are at this low point in your career, I encourage you to learn how to place implants. Attend an implant training course and find a mentor to help you along the way. Start slowly with single site implant placement, then continue to learn advanced implant surgical procedures and stay engaged in this exciting field. Trust me, you will never look back.


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