© Andrea De Martin | Dreamstime.com
Dreamstime M 149053672 62fa8d2661522

What is quiet quitting, and why should it concern your dental office?

Aug. 15, 2022
Dr. David Rice takes on a work trend popular on TikTok, and explains why it's something you and everyone at your practice should be aware of—and wary of.
David R. Rice, DDS, Chief editor

TikTok trends. They’re mostly annoying, frequently foolish, and occasionally dangerous. But now and then, some seem to hit a nerve.

One making the rounds currently is quiet quitting—“quitting the idea of going above and beyond at work.”

While on the one hand it feels like nothing more than a rebranded rerun of behavior that’s punished customers (in our case, patients) and great team members more for decades, there’s a reason it’s resonating. Burnout in our profession is real, and ditching so-called “hustle culture” is one way to deal with it. But in the long run, quiet quitting hurts everyone—again, especially our patients.

Rather than quietly quit on our patients, teammates, or ourselves, here are some healthier ways to manage our stress and burnout.

Practice owners

The most harmful person on any team to quietly quit is you. As you lead—or check out—your team will follow. When you want a team that shows up on time, be the first person in every day. When you want a team that goes all-in on culture, be the best example of that culture in the best and worst of times.

Also by Dr. David Rice:

6 common dental problems and how to deal with them

DIY teeth straightening—please don't try this at home!

When you feel overwhelmed and the need to unplug, I highly recommend getting vulnerable. You don’t need to be a superhero. You just need to openly communicate when you need more help.

Clinical team

Three words to live by: we before me. When we live them, our patients get the treatment and experience they deserve. When we live them, you and the practice owner develop a culture that all great team members want.

And again, when you feel overwhelmed and need help, ask. When you’re feeling good and a fellow teammate is overwhelmed, offer to help.

When we consistently seek opportunities to make moments just a little better for each other, we grow in gratitude together.

Admin team

You’re our first and last impression. You make or break our schedule. You make or break our bank account.

It’s easier to feel isolated as you’re often geographically isolated from most of the team. When you feel it, come back and say hi! Seeing your smile makes the clinical team smile.

Clinical team and practice owners: you can help! When you have a minute, head up front and ask your admin team how their day is going. We all have a random minute or two.

The mirror test

Every action becomes someone’s reaction. Quiet quitting isn’t simply a silent protest—it’s an action that primes a reaction from teammates, ownership, and patients.

In the short term, that impact is emotional and whether you see it or not, it’s taking a toll. In the long term, that impact is tangible. It’s physical as someone carries your work load plus their own. It’s financial as the practice suffers and the owner makes choices none of us want to make. It ripples as patients choose to move on to a practice where they feel important.

TikTok can be fun. It can entertain us. It’s just not the best place to search for life lessons or professional advice.

My advice is to follow advice that allows you to look at yourself in the mirror and feel proud of the reflection you see. When you can, you’re on track. When you can’t, forgive yourself and make a change.

About the Author

David R. Rice, DDS | Chief editor

Founder of the nation’s largest student and new-dentist community, igniteDDS, David R. Rice, DDS, travels the world speaking, writing, and connecting today’s top young dentists with tomorrow’s most successful dental practices. He is the editorial director of DentistryIQ and leads a team-centered restorative and implant practice in East Amherst, New York. With 27 years of practice in the books, Dr. Rice is trained at the Pankey Institute, the Dawson Academy, Spear Education, and most prolifically at the school of hard knocks. Contact him at [email protected].