Influence of practice and personal characteristics on dental job satisfaction

J Dent Educ. 1999 Nov;63(11):805-12.


Job satisfaction has been called a barometer of the dental profession. The Dentist Satisfaction Survey (DSS), an instrument that measures both specific facets related and overall job satisfaction of dentists, was administered to general dentists in Kentucky (N = 987). Independent variables included eleven job facets, plus practice characteristics and personal characteristics including student loan debt. Results of the stepwise multiple regression showed that 60 percent of the variance of the dependent variable, overall job satisfaction, was attributable to six job facets: respect, perception of income, delivery of care, stress, patient relations, and professional time. The most significant predictors of dental job satisfaction involved the intrinsic rewards of being a dentist and the delivery of dental health services. Less satisfying aspects of dentistry included business operations, including practice management and financial planning. Despite concern among educators about the potential influence of student loan debt, there was no significant correlation between student loan debt and overall job satisfaction. Findings from this study have implications for student recruitment, dental school curriculum design, and dental workforce planning.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Dentist-Patient Relations
  • Dentists* / economics
  • Dentists* / psychology
  • Female
  • Financial Management
  • Forecasting
  • General Practice, Dental*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Kentucky
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Management, Dental
  • Professional Practice Location
  • Professional Practice*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stress, Physiological / etiology
  • Time Factors
  • Training Support