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Listen to dental podcasts to avoid professional burnout

July 27, 2020
Innovative dental podcasts will keep your mind engaged and propel your professional growth.

With burnout rates so high among dental professionals, how can you combat professional pressure and recover from workday stress? One effective method might be easier than you think. By listening to dental podcasts, you can better manage the feelings that come from the everyday challenges of dentistry.

Burnout is a serious issue in our overstressed society. In fact, the World Health Organization has listed workplace burnout as a syndrome in its 11th edition of theInternational Classification of Diseases.2 Our nervous systems are wired to handle limited amounts of stimuli, and they haven't caught up to the explosive pace of the world or its technological breakthroughs.1 With longer hours, fast-paced work schedules, and a constant stream of information from our devices, it’s inevitable that burnout affects each of us at some point. 

Unfortunately, our industry makes us highly vulnerable to workplace burnout. We experience its symptoms, which negatively affect our psychological states, job performances, and the levels of the patient care we provide.3Dental professional burnout and its consequences, if not taken seriously and given proper treatment, can put patients in unpleasant or even dangerous situations.4

However, there are ways to recover and return to an optimal state. By managing stress better, taking time for self-care, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance with sufficient intellectual stimulation, we can prevent burnout—or come back from it stronger than ever. Let’s take a look at how the life hack of "upskilling" through podcasts can help fight it. 

Who suffers from dental professional burnout?

Burnout is a mental and physical state that occurs when our mind-body system is consistently exposed to levels of stress it cannot handle. Through a combination of long hours and everyday stress, our systems become overloaded and worn down.

As your energy is depleted and your immunity lowers, you may notice a tendency to isolate yourself more, procrastinate, and experience emotions like hopelessness and self-doubt.5 Other debilitating symptoms like headaches, fatigue, heartburn, and gastrointestinal issues can plague those who suffer from burnout.6 Some career paths exhibit higher rates of burnout than others, especially those that require long hours in high-stress environments, such as social work, emergency response work, medical work, police work, and legal work.7

In studies focused on dental professionals, more than 84% of dentists and 26% of dental auxiliaries reported feelings of burnout.8 In all of these career paths with high burnout rates, there are common factors like stressful environments, long work hours, insufficient pay or benefits, high-performance expectations, and a possible lack of work-life balance.9

How can podcasts help lower the dental professional burnout rate?

We know our industry is at risk and what symptoms we should watch for, but how can we prevent and recover from burnout?

One technique for combatting and treating burnout is to "upskill" and study a new professional technique. This stimulates your mind and can revive your passion for dentistry.10 Through engaging more deeply in the industry and learning fresh techniques, it’s possible to improve your skills and enhance your services. While there are many approved continuing education (CE) programs available, often we barely have time for our necessary self-care without adding another time-consuming activity.11

That is where podcasts come in. We can learn on the go, while doing housework, or getting ready for work. This offers us the chance to learn on our own schedule while brightening tedious commutes and early morning humdrum. In the dental community, there are innovative podcasts that will keep your mind engaged and propel your professional growth.

Which podcasts can help recovery from burnout?

In 2020, podcasts have become even more popular, with more than 60 million homes (around 50% of the US), reporting that they are podcast fans.12 Here are some of the top podcasts in our industry to help you upskill, manage work anxiety, and release stress.13

  • Dental Hacks is one podcast that is popular in our industry. Hosted by Alan Mead, DDS, and Jason Lipscomb, DDS, it focuses on interviews with compelling people on hot-button topics in dentistry—all done in a funny, authentic way.
  • The Dental Podcast Network’s Channels One and Two offer podcasts from many different and knowledgeable contributors. Topics range from protecting our public health to dental assistant talk, allowing you to access a smorgasbord of dental fare.
  • Beyond the Prophy will empower and inspire you to seek career excellence while pursuing your passion. The show is hosted by Jasmin Haley, who will give you straight talk and great advice.
  • The ZZZ Pack focuses on the issues surrounding dental sleep practice. The show is hosted by Lisa Moler, a dental sleep practice expert; Erin Elliott, DDS, a lecturer in dental sleep and short-term orthodontics; and Jason Tierney, the founder of the North American Dental Sleep Medicine Symposium.  
  • Beyond industry-specific podcasts, it can be therapeutic to listen to a few gems focused on mental well-being, such as these: 

    Happier is a podcast by Gretchen Rubin that hosts notable guests (such as Malcolm Gladwell) who speak about positive thinking and offer simple advice to cultivate more happiness in your day. Ten Percent Happier is a podcast hosted by Dan Harris, a reporter who had massive burnout from his work and underwent a personal recovery journey through meditation and mindfulness.14

    In one of our November podcasts, my cohost Eden Evie and I spoke to Corey Jameson-Kuehl about finding the Why in our work through personal assessment. This podcast, like our others, examines various aspects of the dental profession. We think you may find it  helpful in averting burnout.

    Putting it all together

    Burnout is a preventable and curable syndrome. As dental professionals, we can proactively participate in the healing process and create positive work environments for ourselves and our teams. Through lifelong learning, proper work-life balance, positive communication, and self-care, we can pursue healthier lives and workspaces.

    So next time you feel those little twinges of procrastination, isolation, and exhaustion, switch on an invigorating and informative podcast to inspire yourself to help get back to doing what you do best—blazing into that office with a passion for dental health and a lust for life.


    1. "Modern life unnerving your nervous system? | Health24." 10 Apr. 2017, https://www.health24.com/Lifestyle/Healthy-Nerves/is-modern-life-unnerving-your-nervous-system-20160419. Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.
    2. "Workplace Burnout: World Health Organization ... - Inverse." 28 May. 2019, https://www.inverse.com/article/56212-workplace-burnout-who-icd-11. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.
    3. "Systematic review: factors contributing to burnout in ... - NCBI." 5 Oct. 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26443193. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.
    4. "Physician Burnout Poses Patient Safety Risk - Patient Safety ...." https://www.psqh.com/analysis/physician-burnout-poses-patient-safety-risk/. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.
    5. "Burnout Prevention and Treatment - HelpGuide.org." https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/burnout-prevention-and-recovery.htm. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.
    6. "Burnout | Psychology Today." https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/basics/burnout. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.
    7. "The 7 Industries Where People Experience Burnout the Fastest." https://www.ivyexec.com/career-advice/2019/the-industries-where-people-experience-burnout-the-fastest/. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.
    8. "How to Avoid Dental Burnout - Dentistry Today." 4 Jan. 2019, https://www.dentistrytoday.com/news/todays-dental-news/item/4242-how-to-avoid-dental-burnout. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.
    9. "Job Factors That Contribute to Employee Burnout." https://www.verywellmind.com/job-factors-that-contribute-to-employee-burnout-3144512. Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.
    10. "How to Avoid Dental Burnout - Dentistry Today." 4 Jan. 2019, https://www.dentistrytoday.com/news/todays-dental-news/item/4242-how-to-avoid-dental-burnout. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.
    11. "Search for Dental CE Courses - American Dental Association." https://www.ada.org/en/ccepr/find-ce-courses. Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.
    12. "2020 Podcast Stats & Facts (New Research From Jan 2020)." 7 Feb. 2020, https://www.podcastinsights.com/podcast-statistics/. Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.
    13. "Lend an Ear to These 15 Dental Industry Podcasts - Off the Cusp." 30 Sep. 2018, https://www.offthecusp.com/lend-an-ear-to-these-15-dental-industry-podcasts/. Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.
    14. "Best Mental Health Podcasts: 10 Podcasts on Mental ... - Parade." 8 Oct. 2019, https://parade.com/933676/carolyncrist/best-mental-health-podcasts/. Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

    Michelle Strange, MSDH, RDH, brings 20 years of experience to her roles in dentistry. She is the cofounder and cohost of A Tale of Two Hygienists podcast, TriviaDent, Level Up Infection Prevention, and owner of MichelleStrangeRDH. A graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina with a Bachelor's of Health Science and the University of Bridgeport with a Master's in Dental Hygiene Education, Strange focuses on expanding the knowledge of her colleagues in health care. Her passion for dentistry and its connection to overall health extends to her community and global efforts, most notably in her work as a weekly dental hygienist volunteer and annual dental mission trip leader.