50 Percent of Dentists Retire Early Due to Chronic Physical Strain. Dental Can Do Better.

Here’s a dark side of the dental industry we should all pay more attention to.

Over the course of their careers, roughly 50 percent of dentists will hurt themselves on the job — and badly enough that they’ll have to retire early.

We’re not talking about fluke accidents, of course. The danger to dentists is long-term, repetitive stress injuries or chronic pain caused by holding the body in an unnatural position for hours every day.

These injuries build up over time. But unfortunately, they also cost time. 

Some dentists may lose years — even a decade or more — of prime earning potential because they simply can’t take the physical punishment anymore. And that’s not even getting into how chronic pain can affect the quality of life.

Clearly, something must be done. 

We do take heart that a new breed of ergonomic consultants is pushing the dental industry to change. Typically, folks in this line of work will come into your practice, assess how you work, and show you how you can reduce the strain on your body. 

PosturePros founder Stephanie Botts, who recently appeared on Dental Marketing Theory, told us that dentists often need to make only minor changes in their approach to experience a major improvement in physical health.

“Maybe you need to have the patient turn their head to the right a little [so you don’t have to strain while working on them]. Sometimes, that’s all it is,” she says. “It’s so simple, but not really stuff you think about while you’re working.”

As an industry, it’s time we started.

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