Cerec and Galileos: Can Emerging Technologies Help Prevent Burnout?
Can emerging digital technologies like Cerec and Galileos potentially lessen burnout? If you ask the young dentist I spoke with in the previous article I think the answer is a resounding YES! However, please hear me in this: I am not saying that if everyone gets digital technologies that it will bring them out of depression or burnout. Of course not, but what I am saying is that digital technologies can help to make a dentist suffering with burnout rethink, motivate change, and re-connect to the dental community in a way that encourages a healthy and viable practice and lifestyle.
Why? Since dentists are more likely to have isolation-driven personalities, control issues, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies, we must be aware of the insidious, non-age related condition known as burnout that can destroy a dental career before its time. We must find ways to prevent burnout by keeping dentistry fresh, cutting-edge, and find ways to promote engagement with new technologies and interaction with our peers.
A recent survey of dentists showed:
50%- Hate dentistry
30%- Do dentistry for the lifestyle and prestige
20%- Actually love dentistry
These numbers reflect a real and present danger in the dental profession if we allow this trend to continue. Seeking a balanced and healthy practice life is essential for our motivation and growth as dentists.
Recommendations for Living A Balanced Lifestyle:
- Lose the Perfectionism (“It is a denial of your humanity”)
- Practice Acceptance of Life Issues You Can’t Change (Encourages Faith)
- Set Personal Limits and Boundaries (Learn to say “No!”)
- Engage in Meditation, Spiritual or Religious Practice (Daily Reprieve and Fear Reduction)
- Spend time with your Pets! (Walk your dog!)
- Find a Passion/Pastime (“Passion changes everything!”)
- Get Plenty of Sleep/Rest (Sleep is required for brain/heart healthàup to 8 hrs/night)
- Get Moderate Regular Exercise (Walking is Greatà30 min./day)
- Make Healthier Food Choices (Hard to Do!)
- Control Multi-tasking/Work Environment (Work only 32-36 hrs/week)
- Listen To Music (NOT Talk Radio)
- Practice Deep Breathing (Can Do Anywhere)
- Schedule Time For Renewal (Away From Normal Life)
- Recreation (Re-create Yourself!)
- Balance Your Schedule (Work/Home/Life)
- Emotional Resolution (Accountability with Yourself/Others)
- Adjust Expectations (Yourself/Others)
- Develop a “Healthy Narcissism” (Balance in Life)
Let’s not forgot about one of dentist’s biggest issues: Narcissism. We usually associate narcissism as a negative thing, like Destructive Narcissistic Personality (DNP). These behaviors and attitudes include:
Many dentists deal with grandiosity issues to the detriment of his/her personal development.
Clues of (Problem) Grandiosity
- Being overly committed
- Unable to recognize personal limitations
- Boasts and brags constantly
- Inability to make mistakes
- Hypersensitive to the slightest sign of criticism
- An inflated sense of personal importance
- Relates conversations and experiences to “me”, “myself”, and/or “I”
However, there is also a positive side to narcissism when it is associated with creating balance in one’s life, living with humility, remaining teachable, and developing a spirit of opportunity. This is called Healthy Narcissism that can produce a favorable outcome, especially in dentistry.
Healthy Adult Narcissism (Ideal)
- Appropriate Sense of Humor
- Capacity to be Self-Reflective
- Seeks and Appreciates Beauty and Wonder
- Meaningful, Satisfying and Enduring Relationships
This is not an exhaustive list but gives guidance into daily areas we can strive to address and develop.
So, how does this information help us to incorporate the world of digital dentistry into our lives? I would suggest that dental technologies, like the Cerec Omnicam and Galileos, have the potential to:
- Challenge us to have a vision for our future (i.e., R.O.I.- Restorative, Orthodontics, and Implantology).
- Encourage interaction with our dental peers who help decrease the learning curve associated with these new technologies.
- Engage the mind to learn something new and different that lessens isolation and increases social interaction.
- Provide the dentist with technology that is more efficient with more accurate and predictable results thus increasing control over the final restoration and clinical environment.
- Allow the dentist to increase creativity while reducing stress. As Dr. Todd Erhlich has so appropriately reminded us, “Cerec is a process, not a product”.
- Potentially decrease referrals because Cerec/Galileos offers more flexibility and solutions for total patient care.
- Decrease patient and clinician stress while improving patient care and production.
- Enjoy more dentistry while experiencing a good return on investment (ROI).
- Encourage patient participation, learning and co-diagnosis.
- Increase patient perception of the dentist’s office as “cutting-edge” or “on top of things”.
- Empower your dental assistants to do more that increases their self-value and purpose rather than just clean dental debris and “suction blood and spit”.
- Challenge one to evaluate his/her procedures and ask the questions:
- “Do I currently enjoy the way I practice dentistry?”
- “Is digital dentistry a better way to practice?”
- “Does digital dentistry benefit the practice?”
- “Does digital dentistry make the procedure more efficient and easier for the dentist/practice?”
- “Is digital dentistry cost effective and will my staff accept it?”
- Encourage the dentist to remain teachable, quit tolerating things that don’t work, stay involved by being a continuous student, and relinquish control of ideas that can be improved on.
- Encourage change (engagement) to allow one to become a better clinician, provide a better service to one’s patient, and enjoy dentistry more.
- Involve the incredible power of the “Cerec Community”, as it affords opportunity, possibilities, and hope for the patient and the dentist.
You may ask, “Why change? Things are pretty good in my practice.” We must remember that the Stone Age didn’t end because they ran out of stones but it ended because they found a better way of building things! We must be and remain open to change while embracing new ideas so that our personal growth will benefit our patients and community.
We must remember that the “antidote” for burnout is Engagement, which includes Energy, Involvement, and Efficacy. Prevention of burnout encourages change (or engagement) to live a life of learning and wonderment, service to our fellow man, and living life to the fullest.
The Digital Workflow concept is the future of dentistry and the Cerec community is at the forefront to provide the support and education to make this a reality.
My experience in the Cerec world has been nothing short of spectacular and rewarding! I truly believe with all my being that Cerec can be an adjunct to better dentistry while affording the dentist, staff, and patient the BEST dentistry that the 21st Century has to offer. I have summed up my experience and passion like this:
“Cerec is a community of clinicians, support, and technology striving to be the very best dentistry has to offer, willing to share their knowledge, encouragement, and expertise for the good of the profession in the sincerest sense of altruism. This is what makes the technology accessible and predictable for all to use, experience, and enjoy.”
In summary, I hope these 5 articles may shed some light on a different perspective of who we are as dentists, how our “DNA” and personality traits and types influence us, and what makes us “tick” individually and collectively as a profession.
I would encourage all in our great profession to:
- Change the lives of people.
- Take risks with your passions and embrace your future.
- Get in the ‘boat’ instead of watching your profession go by you from the shoreline.
- Explore how emerging technologies may afford you the ability to take control of your treatment and direction for total patient care.
- Realize that it’s not so much about you as it is about how you can change people’s smiles, health, and lives.
- Allow new technologies to enhance the patient experience and allow the clinician to remain engaged which will result in a “win-win” for all.
Technology motivates innovation and is the future of dentistry. New technology is not so much about learning another way to do dentistry just for the sake of learning another technique as it is about helping the clinician avoid isolation and remain engaged and open to new ideas that can benefit not only the patient but the dentist’s overall general mental, physical, and spiritual health. The ‘Cerec Community’ is therapy for burnout itself! Outlets for learning and engagement are ubiquitous and endless in the digital Cerec world (Digital Enamel, Patterson Technology Center, study clubs, webinars, continuing education programs, teaching, etc).
“The ‘Cerec Community’ is therapy for burnout itself!”
In the end, when we approach the end of our dental careers, it’s not about how many dental procedures we did, how much money we made, or how much we have acquired. Instead, it all comes down to how effective and compassionate we have been towards our patient’s total well-being plus how healthy our personal well-being journey in dentistry has been during the years. I wish the best to all in the dental profession by staying engaged with others, asking questions, becoming a “continuous” student, finding a mentor to share your feelings and concerns, and most of all, ‘Keep On Cerecing’!