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Over half of dental professionals say mental wellbeing is worse now than during the COVID pandemic

Post date: 01/11/2023 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 01/11/2023

More than half of dental professionals in the UK (57%) who took part in a survey say their mental health is worse now than it was during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Dental Protection survey of over 1,300 dental professionals in the UK, one in two (50%) are also pessimistic about the future and more than half (56%) are considering their future in the dental profession due to mental wellbeing concerns.

Dr Yvonne Shaw, Deputy Dental Director at Dental Protection said: “The pandemic created an exceptionally tough time for dentistry, and we know that many practices are still grappling with the aftermath. It is hugely concerning that so many dental professionals who endured the challenges of the pandemic feel that their mental wellbeing is worse off today.

“We all have a part to play in supporting the dental team and looking to restore optimism and purpose in the profession. Many practices offered wellbeing support to dental teams during the pandemic. Wherever possible, this should continue.

“I would also encourage members facing mental wellbeing concerns to make use of our 24/7 counselling service and other wellbeing support which is a benefit of membership with Dental Protection. The service is provided through a third-party partner and is completely confidential.”

Dental professionals who participated in the Dental Protection survey commented anonymously:

“I am considering retirement a little earlier than I would have done a few years ago. It is the pressure of conforming to so many ever-changing rules whilst trying to give the patients the best and most appropriate care. The pandemic was hard but the guidance when it came was clear.”

“I found the first part of the pandemic the most stressful time when I could only give telephone advice. But now, there are too many patients and not enough time, so it’s close.”

“During the pandemic there was a sense of everyone striving towards a common goal. Now it’s back to watching our backs and defensive dentistry.”

“Patients’ expectations are very high since the pandemic. Dentists are leaving the profession and patients do not appear grateful when they are seen.”


Notes to editors

For further information contact [email protected]

  • The Dental Protection survey was completed by 1,379 dental members in the UK. The survey was in the field from 20 March to 17 April 2023.

Key findings:

  • 57% of dental professionals said their mental wellbeing is worse now than it was during the pandemic.
  • 56% are considering their future in the dental profession due to mental wellbeing concerns.
  • 50% feel pessimistic about the future.

About Dental Protection

Dental Protection is a registered trademark and a trading name of The Medical Protection Society Limited (“MPS”). MPS is the world’s leading protection organisation for doctors, dentists and healthcare professionals. We protect and support the professional interests of more than 300,000 members around the world. Membership provides access to expert advice and support and can also provide, depending on the type of membership required, the right to request indemnity for any complaints or claims arising from professional practice.

Our in-house experts assist with the wide range of legal and ethical problems that arise from professional practice. This can include clinical negligence claims, complaints, medical and dental council inquiries, legal and ethical dilemmas, disciplinary procedures, inquests and fatal accident inquiries.

Our philosophy is to support safe practice in medicine and dentistry by helping to avert problems in the first place. We do this by promoting risk management through our workshops, E-learning, clinical risk assessments, publications, conferences, lectures and presentations.

MPS is not an insurance company. All the benefits of membership of MPS are discretionary as set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

About the counselling service

Our counselling service is provided by our trusted partners ICAS, who offer a personalised and professional service tailored specifically to your requirements and delivered by experienced qualified counsellors.

ICAS's telephone counselling provides immediate access to support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and face-to-face counselling sessions can be arranged near to you and at your convenience, all funded by Dental Protection.

The service is entirely independent and confidential. Dental Protection members can call ICAS now on 0808 189 4385 or +44 3300 241 021 from overseas and quote their Dental Protection membership number to book a free session.

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