Home Issues2023 Well-Being Issue Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor

Why Well-Being Matters in Dentistry

by Steve Parker

Practicing the art of self-care and the importance for dentist-owners

If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “In case of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will drop. Place it securely over your nose and mouth FIRST, then check on others,” you might be surprised to learn that this is referred to as the “self-care” principle, and it extends far beyond air travel. 

For dentists who own and manage their practices, the self-care principle represents a comprehensive approach that underscores the significance of consciously prioritizing and sustaining one’s physical, emotional and social, financial, and professional well-being. Instead of merely ensuring your own self-care before assisting children or fellow passengers, your responsibility broadens to encompass your family, patients, team, and practice. 

Self-care in a nutshell is acknowledging and addressing the profound impact of your own needs, setting practical boundaries, and participating in activities that foster personal health and an overall balanced life. Self-care isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept; rather, it involves meaningful and effective practices tailored to each of you and your needs. 

In this Well-Being Issue, we offer insights, guidance and advice from several of our long-time contributors to touch on each of the four pillars of wellness.  

Dr. Uche Odiatu and Wellness Expert Grace Kim delve into strategies for maintaining your physical health through activities such as regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and a well-balanced diet.  

Dr. Susan Maples candidly discusses the challenges and burdens of practice ownership – and it’s not the dentistry!  

Dr. David Phelps shares insights on financial well-being and how to determine when you’ve achieved financial security. 

Dr. Ed Zuckerberg offers a critical analysis of the evolving landscape of dental care and its implications for the profession. 

Dr. Emily Letran shares how she strikes a balance between dentistry and her pursuits beyond the dental chair in our “Outside the Op” feature.  

And there’s more… 

Denise Williams-Jones discusses how engaging in a hobby can provide the emotional self-care dentist-owners require. Amy Woods presents ideas for disconnecting from the whirlwind of social media, and Lynne Leggett acknowledges how to navigate burnout in dentistry…it’s real and you aren’t alone if you feel it. Christi Bintliff shares lessons in leadership stamina by channeling the stamina of a racecar driver.  Dr. Chris Phelps talks through the power and impact of having a practice coach – and so much more.      

The core message of the self-care principle is this: by taking care of yourself, you become better equipped to handle the demands and challenges of daily life as a dentist-owner. Our hope is that this Well-Being Issue underscores the vital importance of recognizing that self-care is not a selfish act, but rather a necessary foundation for a healthy and fulfilling life as a practice owner. 

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