3 DSO leaders share tips for reducing burnout among dentists and teams


Whether you’re in a private practice or part of a large dental group, you have probably noticed someone in your practice who is feeling burned out.

The Mayo Clinic defines job burnout as a type of work-related stress that leads people to feel worn out physically or emotionally. People who are burned out may experience the following:

  • Self-doubt in their skills or abilities
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Less patience with colleagues and patients

We asked three DSO leaders to share their thoughts — and solutions — for burnout.

Curtis Swogger, COO of My Community Dental Centers (34 locations in Michigan)

“I believe all positions suffer from burnout and compassion fatigue at any given time. Burnout and compassion fatigue can be experienced simultaneously.

“It’s important to understand what the difference is and what drives them. Burnout stems from occupational stress and being overworked.

“When the team is shorthanded, that is one example that can lead to burnout. Compassion fatigue comes from our teams feeling helpless in the face of patient suffering. When we cannot get a patient in sooner, that is an example that can lead to compassion fatigue.

“It’s important that you have a strong culture that includes compassion. Culture is what people do when nobody’s watching.

“Having a leadership team that is compassionate and supportive of the team is one piece of this dynamic. Having a pulse on the team, all the way down to the entry-level position, is a step in the right direction. The leadership team needs to know what right looks like. Having a strong culture and listening to your team members are key.”

Dr. Kalpesh Patel, founder and CEO of Active Dental (four locations in Texas)

“We’re noticing that our front office teams are burned out. One of the biggest reasons is the toll that insurance verification takes. When you’re on hold for 40 minutes or fighting to get necessary care approved, you just feel beat down.

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