Caring for the Dentist

The Problem

All caring professions have the idea of Care in common.

Dentists have been assigned the task to care for the health of the teeth and have set up a noble profession around this principle. Doctors and other healthcare workers are similar. Each profession is assigning an aspect of the health of the body and mind to itself. From the Psychotherapist to the Dentist, the Doctor to the Podiatrist and everywhere in between, we set ourselves the task of caring for that particular part or aspect of human health.

But somehow, in all the study and learning in each field, a fundamental omission goes unnoticed.

So what is the glaring omission in this entire noble endeavour? What is missed when so much is studied and researched? Basically, our form of care is focussed on others and what we do for them but have forgotten ourselves, the carers.

Why is that a problem?  

This is a problem because it distorts the essence of caring. Caring is an inclusive phenomenon. If anyone is omitted, then it is no longer caring by definition. If I do not give care to myself, I will keep giving care without receiving any. What will happen if I use this way of caring? I will eventually run out of energy. In today’s language, I will burn out.  This type of stress related burnout is all too common in our profession.

This is the essence of our problem in healthcare. The carers are asked more and more but are not allowed to receive. The result is carer burnout and now two consequences happen. The first one is that a carer is lost to the system. The second is that paradoxically and at the same time more need for care has been created in the form of a burned out carer. Multiply this up in the system and what we get is a system failure, system burnout. And that, in a nutshell, is what we are experiencing across our healthcare model.

What is the Solution?

The solution is simple really. We need to reverse the trend. In a word Self-care

We begin to care for the carer. We put the carer first. As a wise sage once said, the heart supplies itself first with blood, not because it is greedy but because it is intelligent and recognises that if it fails due to lack of blood nutrients the entire body is put at serious risk. In a real sense, our healthcare system has terminal heart disease.

Care for the Carer can begin with Mindfulness  

One simple way of introducing this care for the carers is through the teaching and practice of mindfulness.

The core of the Mindful Dentist course is the teaching of the practice of Mindfulness Meditation to dentists and bringing the benefits of the practice to their professional and personal lives. Mindfulness, as a modality has been scientifically demonstrated to enhance mental, emotional and physical wellbeing as well as reducing stress and anxiety. It also has benefits in enhancing interpersonal relationships and conflict resolution.

What person, institution or community would not greatly benefit from these enhancements 
and benefits?

  • Increased productivity
  • Lower stress levels
  • Lower anxiety levels
  • Enhanced physical, mental and emotional wellbeing
  • Fewer sick days
  • Better relationships
  • Less conflict

The Mindful Dentist course is designed to achieve these outcomes but with specific reference to the clinical dental environment. For more details please contact me at

[email protected]