A survey of stress, burnout and well-being in UK dentists

Br Dent J. 2019 Jan 11;226(1):40-49. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2019.6.


Introduction: It is well established that dentistry is a stressful profession, primarily due to the nature and working conditions in the dental surgery. With dramatic changes taking place in the profession in recent years it is important to establish the impact this has on dentists' well-being.

Aims: To determine the levels of stress and burnout in UK dentists and how this relates to well-being and identify the sources of work-related stress dentists report in different fields of practice.

Materials and method: An online survey comprising of validated measures examining stress, burnout and well-being in dentists was administered to British Dental Association (BDA) members and non-members.

Results: Valid responses were received from 2053 respondents. Dentists working in the UK exhibit high levels of stress and burnout and low well-being. General dental practitioners (GDPs) seem to be particularly affected. Issues relating to regulation and fear of litigation were deemed to be the most stressful aspects of being a dentist.

Conclusions: The findings from this study build upon existing research showing that dentistry is a stressful profession. The sources of this stress appear to have shifted over the years, highlighting the changing landscape of dentistry. Interventions should focus on addressing these stressors by making changes to the working conditions of dentists.

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional*
  • Burnout, Psychological*
  • Dentists
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom