Dentists Are Prone To Suicide: How’s Their Mental Health?

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Suicide is, unfortunately, an all too common thing. Over 800,000 people reportedly die by their hand on an annual basis, and that does not even account for the people who’ve only gone as far as attempting it. Suicide rates cover a range of professions, and research has shown that dentists, in particular, appear to be relatively more prone to suicide than any other healthcare professionals. The problem is that, they don’t want to be “scrutinized” by a therapist and so, they keep quiet.

Franklin Niver, a Californian dentist, knows three colleagues who have committed suicide. The tenth volume of the American Dental Journal in 1911 lists a total of ten dentists in their “In Memoriam” section. Only three were officially ruled as suicides—one was said to have had a “nervous collapse due to overwork,” while another apparently “accidentally killed himself while wiping the revolver.” However, the pertinence of this account to present-day studies is dubious, given it was recorded one whole century ago. More recent research would put forward a more concrete impression. That’s why I took to interviewing a total of ten dentists for this article and to my findings, eight of them had a colleague who had taken their own life.

My curiosity piqued, I began my investigation into the age-old claim that dentists are notably more suicide-prone than the rest of the community. Is it indeed based on facts? Or is it purely a misconception? As it so happened, each dentist I spoke with was familiar with the idea. One dentist, Dr. O, shared, “The first thing people will say is when I tell them I am a dentist is ‘Oh! Dentists do have the highest suicide tendency rate!”.

 

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After weeks of scouring through dental journals and from a hundred years ago, I could only say that that statement was inconclusive at best. CDC’s latest report on professions with the highest suicide rates was released in 2012, which listed fishermen, farmers and forestry workers to have the highest estimated risk. Dentists were positioned at number 12. However, the CDC’s of National Occupational Mortality Surveillance from the year 1999 to the year 2010  divulged that dentists rate were 2.5 more times as likely to commit suicide as part of the general public, whereas the aforementioned farmers, fishers, and forest workers were only reported to be 0.9 times more likely. The inconsistency in records could have been due to a reduction in suicide rates by dentists or possibly due to unreliable research.

Middle-aged white men hold the highest suicide rate in America, which is consistent with the observed elevated rates of dentists that are male Caucasians. A criminal justice professor at Wayne State University, Steven Stack, had also observed this statistic and investigated the direct link between dentistry and suicide. He conducted a study in 1996 that concluded being a dentist increased one’s rate by 564 percent. On the contrary, a study by the CDC in 2012 disclosed that dentists and were 80 percent less likely to commit suicide than people of other professions.

It is nearly impossible to pinpoint the major cause behind suicides in dentists. Unless a suicide note with an indicated reason was left behind, we could not determine what drove them to take their own life. However, evidence would point to occupational stress as a probable reason. This leads to some factors of suicide, such as depression, substance abuse, and marital problems. As for the dentists I’ve interviewed, they were quite satisfied with their jobs, but they did confirm that the job puts them under considerable stress. A few negative points mentioned were financial trouble, isolation, and the public’s unfavorable perception of their profession.

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According to the American Dental Association, the majority of dental students that graduated in 2016 were at the very least 100,000 dollars in debt. That doesn’t even include the costs for setting up your practice, such as buying equipment or obtaining office space. Expenses could possibly reach up to a whopping one million dollars.

There’s also the fact that dentistry is quite a physically grueling job. It is not uncommon for dentists to suffer from severe back, neck, and shoulder pain due to the uncomfortable position they have to stay in a while working. “It can be very physically taxing,” Dr. O says. “ … Even though you are not lifting the heavy weights all day long, it does take much toll on the body.”

CDC lists isolation as another risk factor, which comes hand-in-hand with emotional stress. Dentists have an unfortunate reputation as people who inflict pain, making it challenging to establish a rapport with their patients.

It remains indeterminate if dentists do indeed have higher suicidal tendencies compared to other professionals, but the statistics, as well as the recorded evidence supporting this notion, speaks volumes.

Tips In Choosing An Excellent Dentist In New York

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No matter how busy you are at work, business or even in your personal life, it is crucial for you to find a way to visit a dentist regularly. Take note that taking good care of your health can do a lot of wonders in your life. Aside from it will help you prevent from experiencing toothaches and having a healthy gum, it can also enhance your self-confidence. As you probably know by now, there are several New York’s dentists in the city, and that can be challenging on your part since it would be quite difficult to choose the best among the rest.

 

Fortunately, there are some ways on how you can make things easier on your part. First of all, it is imperative for you to understand the necessity of choosing an excellent dentist. Take note that not all dental professionals are good at what they do, which is why you have to exert efforts in finding those who are considered as exceptional in the dental practice. Below are some of the practical and useful tips to remember:

 

Ask For Recommendations

 One of the easy steps that you have to do is to get in touch with some friends or family members who have been connecting with a dentist for a long time already. The goal is to get referrals from these individuals so that you will not have a hard time in the selection process. However, it must be noted that doing this can be tricky, which is why you must not hesitate in asking questions about the recommended dentist as well as the way he provides his services to the public.

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Check The Websites

 Most dental clinics are already available online, which makes it a whole lot easier on your part to check their websites. All you have to do is to search for a list of available clinics in your area. You will be shocked or surprised by how fast the Internet can provide you with several resources. If you have time to do thorough research, the next step is to visit these sites so that you can already have an idea about the services offered as well as the prices charged by each clinic. The best and ideal option is to go for a clinic that is the nearest to your location and one that does not charge a high price but maintains high-quality services.

 

Read Online Reviews

 Another significant advantage of having the Internet is that you can already get free access to online reviews from various customers and clients of a particular dental clinic. With only one click of a button, you can already read available reviews that have been posted by people who have availed of the services of the dental professional involved. However, it is crucial for you to be careful in believing about the things that you read online. As much as possible, make an effort to verify the authority of the user leaving the comment to ensure that you will not be fooled. Take note that not everything you read online is true. You need to be good at filtering information to find out which ones are true or false.

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 Inquire About Skills

 What are the services that you would like to require from a dentist? It is best if you already know the answer to this question so that it can be convenient on your part to search for the right dentist to offer assistance for you. Keep in mind that there are several dentists engaged in the practice of dentistry. Each of them has various skills and talents, which set them apart from each other. As a potential client, you have to choose someone who is skilled in the service that you would like to avail. For example, if you intend to have braces, you need to look for someone who has been doing such work for at least five years.

 

If there is one thing that you have to remember at all times, it is the importance of choosing an excellent dentist. Remember that your teeth deserve the best kind of care. As such, you must only trust its care and maintenance into someone who is considered as an expert in the field.